Semester students visit north end

  • Jan. 23, 2012 4:00 p.m.

Submitted article–This past weekend, the Natural Resource semester students headed north to Masset to get to know the northern communities of Haida Gwaii. While in Masset, the students researched ways to diversify and strengthen the economy by conducting informal interviews with community members.On Friday, we piled into the big white van and stopped to stock up on groceries at the Bayview Market. Over the weekend, we had a beautiful lunch at the Trout House as well at the Island Sunrise Cafe, and stayed at Rapid Richie’s where the lovely Tony showed us the basics of living ‘off the grid’, and introduced us to some of the locals. We also visited the longest running candy store on Haida Gwaii: open for 27 years, 365 days a year, (even Christmas and New Years Day). We were impressed with the variety of classic candy, and Nora kindly told us about her experience running the business.Many people expressed the desire to produce finished wood products here on the island, using the natural strength and high quality of our local wood. The students identified this as a way to create ‘ground up’ benefits for the community, and to keep the wealth generated by logging here on the islands. One thing that resonated deeply with the students was that the community shares food with each other and also holds fundraisers for friends and family members when they are in need. What this means for our citizens is that it strengthens the ties within our community and contributes to a sense of ‘place’. In their lectures students learned that sense of ‘place’ is perhaps the most important asset for a community in creating sustainable solutions. When people share a commitment to each other, and a commitment to the place, they are more likely to rise above conflict, and to defend their home from negative external influences. The types of development are inherently more sustainable and less likely to make long-term sacrifices for short term gain.If you are interested in contributing to this discussion we invite you to contact Jessica Rampling at HGHES communications@haidagwaiisemester.com or to discuss this with the students the next time your paths might cross.