This weekend, SIMRES hosted a workshop where researchers and scientists met with graduate and undergraduate students from UBC and UVic to discuss the issues and concepts presented in the book “The Sea Among Us”. After their meetings, they held a public presentation on the Saturday afternoon. Thanks to MEOPAR, CRD and Harbour Publishing for their sponsorship of the weekend.
“The Sea Among Us” came about from Dick Beamish and Sandy McFarlane, who wanted to have a way to tell the stories of the Salish Sea, to inspire understanding of where we live, and to convey understanding of what needs to be protected and further studied. The SIMRES workshop was the first in-person gathering of several of the contributors to the book, and there are hopes that this could turn into an annual event. The goals of this workshop were to develop a vision for the future of the marine ecosystems and human communities of the Strait of Georgia and to identify strategies for making this vision a reality.
Following a day-and-a-half of meetings and discussions between the researchers and students, SIMRES invited islanders and visitors to gather and hear the results and also contribute to further discussions around the issues presented in “The Sea Among Us”. Students presented to the group ways that changes by researchers and communicators could contribute to the shared vision of the Salish Sea.
The students expressed a hope that researchers could change methodology from pure natural history studies towards multidisciplinary work involving biological and physical sciences, social sciences, and community organizations. By communicating and collaborating with local residents, businesses and other interest groups, scientific research can be better focused on a shared vision of a healthy, functioning ecosystem.
Events like this workshop are one way that the scientific community can connect with the broader community, and will hopefully lead to future collaborations. Throughout the discussions, Saturna residents and visitors wondered about how to be more informed about local and upstream areas. Additionally, there were questions about what the top priority should be for community groups to organize around. Dr. Andrew Trites made an observation that, more than any issue or activity, there is a clear need for an umbrella organization in the Salish Sea to provide coordinated leadership and funding. An important message came out of that, to remember that we can be more than just individuals – that when we come together with our diversity of experiences and interests, there is so much more we can all achieve together.
If you would like to be involved in these further conversations, or you have an opinion of who should be further involved, please let us know. We’d also like to hear about other groups already involved in work in the Salish Sea that we should coordinate with. Finally, if you know of funding opportunities that could be useful for this, we would love to hear from you. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.