- Informing our membership on proposed development plans that may compromise our vision of a sustainable regional economy.
- Working to develop long-term stewardship plans for the Skeena Watershed
- Organizing information meetings between regional/provincial governments, corporate developers and local communities
- Contributing to baseline research of wildlife, water quality, and cultural heritage resources in the Upper Skeena Watershed
- Developing sustainable employment opportunities that are compatible with the globally significant values of the region
- Providing educational programs for the region’s children and youth (school programs and a summer conservation camp) to learn about the values within the Skeena watershed
- Sponsoring gatherings for stories, music, and art celebrating the Skeena Watershed
- Investing in research and development for local projects that offer positive community economic development potential in line with our organizational values
OUR MISSION STATEMENT:
“To cultivate a sustainable future from a sustainable environment rooted in our culture and a thriving wild salmon ecosystem in the Skeena watershed.”
The Skeena Watershed
The Skeena Watershed (54,234km2) can be described as the Skeena River and all the tributaries that feed into it as well as the landmass they drain. This is an accurate description and understanding how a watershed works is critical to understanding how fragile it is. We boast all 5 species of wild Pacific salmon, the largest strain of wild steelhead in the world, moose, grizzly, black bear, spirit bear, caribou, wolverine, wolves, mountain goat, stone sheep and many other iconic wildlife in healthy, robust populations.
How We Work
We believe that building unity through our shared values can create a vision for the watershed that speaks to all that live here. We know that collaboration with First Nations can further secure the future health of our watershed. This means we must improve human and mental health in the region and that the conservation efforts must support social justice issues. In this region, conservation work requires a relationship based approach and this is why our connection to both place and people are such an asset. By building strong relationships and being an active participant in the communities we live in, we ground our work in a sense of place and trust in each other.
The Skeena’s Journey
It begins its journey in the Sacred Headwaters, an alpine basin in northern BC adjacent to Spatsizi Wilderness Park, where the Nass and Stikine Rivers also find their birthplace. From the Sacred Headwaters, the Skeena flows southeast, between the shallow peaks of the Skeena Mountains. It continues past the Slamgeesh Range, then westward to Fourth Cabin where it turns south. After Kuldo it turns eastward, then flows again south below Cutoff Mountain and Mount Pope. It continues past the communities of Kispiox and Hazelton, where it receives the waters of Bulkley River, then turns southwest.
At Kitseguecla, the river is crossed by Highway 37, and then turns south around the Seven Sisters Peaks and Bulkley Ranges, then between the Nass Ranges and Borden Glacier, past the ferry crossing at Usk, through the Kitselas Canyon, and then through the Kleanza Creek Provincial Park. It then flows south-west through the city of Terrace, where the river widens. It continues westwards, passes near the Exchamsiks River Provincial Park, and finally flows into the Pacific Ocean at Eleanor Passage, between Port Edward and Port Essington.
Our Board of Directors
Harriet Hall and her partner relocated in 2008 from Secwepemcúl’ecw to Spookw, in the Laxyip, after years of exploring the northwest. They have a small regenerative agricultural enterprise that revolves around raising sheep, berries and bees while encouraging local pollinators, birds and wildlife. Professionally, she practices as a Registered Massage Therapist with an interest in helping people achieve optimum function. She is a director of the Hazelton Farmers Market Society and mentors the beekeeping project at USDC/Senden. Harriet’s roots are rural and she is keenly aware of the importance of protecting, maintaining and restoring natural ecosystems. At the same time, she understands the importance of developing sustainable economic enterprises to support the human members of the community. From Amchitka Island, the Stein Valley, Site C and various local community initiatives, she has worked, over the years, to draw attention to issues, educate folks and protect the environment. For relaxation and joy, Harriet runs, hikes, swims, bikes and paddles in our beautiful mountains, lakes and rivers.
Presently a Research Associate of the Instituto Caribe de Antropologia y Sociologia in Caracas, Venezuela, he is an Honorary Research Associate of the Institute of Economic Botany of the New York Botanical Garden, a Collaborator in Botany at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biology at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Research Associate of the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, a Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Executive Director of the Endangered People’s Project.
From Bulkley Valley Hive & Honey: Beekeeping is a lifestyle. Once you go “bee” you don’t go back to a normal existence. Trevor the beekeeper lives and breathes bee. He took a deep dive into the world of beekeeping in 2016 when we participated in a study with some friends from New Zealand; spending 12 weeks learning from Master beekeepers in our own backyard. He caught the bug and we’ve been steadily increasing our hive numbers each year. A red-seal Stone Mason by trade, Trevor decided to transition out of working away from home and beekeeping offered a perfect opportunity for quality of life and financial freedom.
Brian is one of the founding members of SWCC. He has been chasing trail, building cabins, writing reports, running rivers and taking photographs in just about every corner of the Skeena watershed ever since. In 2007, Brian was adopted into the Gitxsan house group of Wilp Gwininitxw as a result of his meaningful work and commitment to the lands and resources on Gwininitxw territory in the upper Skeena. His focus at SWCC is to achieve permanent protection for the Skeena’s key ecosystems, support transformative experiences on the land and water for residents of the Skeena and develop decision making power for Skeena communities with respect to the integrity of our unique environment and culture. Brian is also one of the Youth on Water trip leaders and supports all aspects of running a safe, well organized and kick-ass program for the watershed’s next generation of talented river guides.
Kathy grew up in West Vancouver, and ended up in the north by marrying Todd and following him and his passion for the northern rivers. It only took 24 hours for Kathy to feel that it was the right move (while Todd took less than a minute). Now, she absolutely loves her rural home and close-knit community, and would never want to live in the city again. They have a small acreage in the Kispiox Valley, where they run a small steelhead guiding operation in the fall. During the summer, the lovely guesthouse that Todd built is used as a bed & breakfast for visitors from all over the world. The Kispiox Valley has been a wonderful place to raise their two kids, now off on their own adventures. Kathy has worked mainly as a typesetter for print shops, newspapers and book publishers over the years, and is now the office administrator for the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition.
Energy Coordinator - Skeena Energy Solutions
Kesia moved to the Kispiox Valley from the South Coast in the summer of 2016 with an intent to learn to homestead, get connected, and do something useful with herself. It was a leap of faith that has payed off beyond her wildest dreams. Shortly after landing she joined the SWCC team as a Community Organizer Intern, and from there stepped up to steer the SES ship, further specializing the programming toward resilient ecosystem agriculture, regenerative poultry, and community economic development. With a background in sustainable agriculture and an interest in renewable energy and alternative building techniques, she finds this job endlessly fascinating and rewarding – but it’s the people she meets and works with and the landscape she moves through each day that truly fulfill her. She loves working collaboratively with local communities on projects she believes in. When not on the farm or out in the watershed, Kesia is also a singer-songwriter and Ki Aikido teacher.
Administrative & Program Support
Jennifer is Gitxsan, and belongs to the Lax Gibuu (Wolf clan). She has a background in carpentry, a passion for local food security, and regenerative agriculture. Carpentry is what brought her to SWCC, and she started by helping build the solar-powered YOW base in 2019, was involved in building several cabins on the Yintah, and multiple chicken coops in the Upper Skeena. Since joining the team she has become an amateur chicken tender, raising a handful of chickens (from the first flock of SWCC’s Chicken Project!) in her backyard in Sik-e-Dakh, and is an aspiring photographer.
Director of Program Execution
Senior River Guide
Raised by a master fisherman and an outstanding office-mom, Simon had a good head-start in life as a little alevin. As a fry he grew his love for the outdoors including the Kispiox Valley which he has called home his whole life. Through his teen years as a parr, he started spending more and more time on, in, and around rivers. At 14, he was lucky enough to spend a few days in the Sacred Headwaters of the Skeena, seeing off the Skeena Swim team in 2009. He then participated in the second and third ever Youth On Water programs when he was 15 and 16 years old and took up fly fishing. After graduating high school the young smolt journeyed away from his Skeena home to pursue music as a drummer/booking manager in his band at the time, The Racket, always keeping his river roots close at heart. As a young adult, he traveled far and wide, venturing from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean and reaching as far as Southern Africa where he worked with youth. Now as a matured adult, Simon has returned home and is rooted as ever in the rivers that raised him. With over three years of river guiding experience, Simon is dedicated to his role in SWCC to mentor, empower, and learn from our local youth. Simon is in love with this job and the amazing life it imparts… a life on water.
Energy Solutions Coordinator
2023 Summer Intern
Hi, my name is Raven Mason-Robinson, I am a young Heiltsuk and Gitxsan woman, and I come from the Wilp Niisto’o of the frog clan. My mother is Kyra Mason and my Geetz and Ye’ea are Shirley and Allan Mason. My Geetz comes from Gitsegukla and my Ye’ea comes from Bella Bella and Klemtu. My father is Dewayne Robinson and my late grandparents are Delbert and Joyce Turner who are all from Gitanmaax. I am the youngest of my mom’s fab4; Robert, Alycia, Kari and I. I am also the youngest of my dad’s children; Kyle and Ashley. I am 18 years old and moved home to Hazelton at the end of 2020, I have wanted to learn so much more about my culture, and I see SWCC as an opportunity to support this learning and strengthen my connection to our Gitxsan laxyip.
2022 Summer Intern
Hi, my name is Honor Watson and I am the summer intern at SWCC. I am 19 years old and I have lived in Hazelton for 16 of those years. I am a first-year student at the University of Victoria where I am studying general science with a plan to declare a major in biopsychology and go into the medical field. I am an adventurous person and love the opportunity to be pushed outside of my comfort zone. In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors, staying active and spending as much time with my friends as possible. Growing up, my mom worked for SWCC so I think it is very cool that I am now getting the same opportunity and I am very excited to spend the summer with SWCC.
Shannon lives and works in the watershed and grew up on a working ranch, spending much of her youth fishing and hunting in the Skeena mountains with her family. She has worked as a white-water rafting guide, a big game hunting guide, a welder and a nutritionist at a women’s health center after her education in the field of chemical technology. Shannon’s diverse background allows her to understand and relate to people within the watershed that have a variety of opinions and concerns. It is important to Shannon that all voices are heard when decisions are being made regarding the future of this unique place. Her commitment is so strong that she spent 7 years working for the SWCC as a volunteer. Shannon is a mother of two. While motherhood certainly keeps her busy, it hasn’t slowed her down or prevented her from working to keep our Sacred Headwaters free of coalbed methane and our Skeena River wild.