Grad students moving on

  • May. 18, 2011 2:00 p.m.

Sixteen graduate students wrapped up their three-week field course on Haida Gwaii last Friday by presenting their projects to a wider island audience. The students were part of the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society and Simon Fraser University’s second partnership together. The students, all working towards Master’s degrees in the natural resource management field, spent time in the classroom with Ken Lertzman from the Resource and Environmental Management department at Simon Fraser University and also in the community with those who work in natural resource management. Several of the students came from backgrounds in fisheries or other areas and coming to Haida Gwaii was the first time they’d been exposed to forestry issues. They worked on projects as far ranging as the growth patterns of monumental cedars to tourist profiles of hikers and Haida Gwaii visitors. One student, Dionne Bunsha, a former journalist from India produced a video about the project called “Our Journey through Haida Gwaii.” She said she worked with very marginalized people in her country and found she had written about a lot of problems in her time as a reporter. “I wanted to look at solutions,” she said. “I can see there are people here that really fought for solutions. You guys give inspiration to people around the world”. Program coordinator Mary von der Porten, in her closing remarks, noted that it can be challenging for the community to hear presentations from students who have spent only three weeks on the islands learning about a difficult topic they deal with every day. “Thanks to the community for their openness in having us here on Haida Gwaii,” she said.