Monday, December 8, 2014

Exciting developments for the Redfish School of Change!

Redfish School of Change 2015 will explore the Ecology, Communities, and Change Makers of the Salish Sea

Salmon don't carry passports.  Orcas don't identify as Canadian or American.  The waters of the Salish Sea are shared between Canada and the United States, and many of the gifts and challenges of the region affect both nations.  How are the people that share the same bioregion-but carry different passports- working for change?  
The Central Salish Sea:

The 2015 Redfish School of Change will explore these questions in this place.  Eighteen students and three instructors will travel by kayak, bicycle, bus and foot, exploring the region named the Salish Sea.

 "It's such an exciting development," says Ryan Hilperts, Director of the Redfish School of Change. "Bioregional issues very rarely stop at international borders.  I'm thrilled to be able to explore these lands and waters with Redfish students and begin to broaden perspectives on the issues that we all share-Canadians and Americans- living in this place."

The 2015 program will run from July 8 to August 15, and will for the first time bring together instructors and students from both Canada and the United States. Applications from Canadian students are being accepted now, at  American applications will be accepted beginning late February.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Grand Finale

Well, my goodness how time flies! So much has happened in the last few weeks - from New Denver to Syringa, touring the Hugh Keenleyside dam and then traveling up the Kootenay canal past the several generating stations. We really are living and learning - as we read, discuss and experience the issues and topics of our courses. The cycling trip was fantastic and we had a nice finish in Nelson for a few days.

While in Nelson we had another It Takes All Kinds sessions with four new excellent speakers who all shared their views and experiences on facilitating social and environmental change. It is inspiring and motivating to hear their stories. Some of us also told our own Redfish story being interviewed on the Kootenay Co-op radio program "Be the Change". That was pretty cool!

After Nelson, we then headed into Kokanee Glacier Park for our grand finale Redfish trip. We hiked up and up (in the snow!) all the way to the beautiful cabin. We stayed there for four nights. We did some day hiking in the beautiful sun and mountains. We read our own poems and narratives about nature which was so incredible. Everyone had such powerful pieces of writing - and reminded us of the many incredible places we had visited. We also shared our current thinking and plans for our community action projects - wow, what everyone is doing is so amazing! To close we had a ceremony and tried to make the moments last longer, moving towards our inevitable good bye.

Finishing at the source, the glaciers and mountains of Kokanee, from where all the drainages and valleys we had toured was appropriate. We went into the mountains, to the source of the waters, to the source of our spirits. There we connected in community once more before parting our ways, walking out of the mountains, and onto our own paths of action and change.

It's been a wild ride this Redfish experience. I am grateful for many many things, and look forward to the months to come for reflection and digestion of all that I have learned.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The last couple of days...

As mentioned in the previous post, we're currently staying for the next few days at Heart's Rest, and started from the Little Slocan Lodge. I thought I'd fill in the details for the time in between. We left the Lodge on the 24th of May, and biked down to the Slocan Lake docks. From there we loaded up our canoes - generously donated to us from individuals from the New Denver community, and paddled out to Evans Creek Beach. We had some sweet campfire ragers, stayed two nights, then paddled further on the lake to Nemo Creek Beach. A lot of us were becoming anxious after not having showered for three days, so along the way we stopped off at a campsite and jumped off of rocks into the lake. It was freezing cold, but it was a bright day, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky! We stayed at Nemo Creek for two nights, and had the opportunity to learn about the history of Valhalla Park - such a beautiful place, who would have thought the forests are all restored land! After Nemo Creek, we paddled further along the lake to Wee Sandy Creek, where we stayed for 4 nights. This was where one of the climax of our camping trip took place. The second night was scheduled to be an overnight solo. The instructors showed us how to set up tarps, then led us into the forests, up near the look-out, and along the beach - where we had to spend a night along on the island by ourselves. For many of us, this was a huge step, and we were all fairly nervous about it - the fact that a thunder storm was in the forecast didn't help reassure us either! And an adventure it turned out to be - from having trouble setting up tarps and freaking out, from dropping our dinner boxes and scavenging food off rocks, animal calls, and encounters with weird animals, the solo night was definitely an experience for all of us! After 8 days of camping, we finally arrived on the New Denver campground on the following Friday, (probably dirty, and smelly), but all feeling a great sense of accomplishment and self-fulfilment. We took off to the waters early in the morning at 7, and had a calm paddle into the village with the morning mist. Everyone appreciated the extra time to finally take showers, do some laundry, and relax after being exposed to the elements for so long. We had a barbecue that evening, and spent the night reminiscing the great time we had. We were at the campground for 3 nights, wrote a mid-term for the school, and then were welcomed to the beautiful home of George and Terresa at Heart's Rest. It's been a heck of an adventure - many more great memories await! STAY TUNED!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day 20 at Heart's Rest

Day 20! The Redfishies, as we collectively call ourselves are staying at Heart's Rest (, a retreat centre just outside New Denver. The founders Therese and George have welcomed us warmly into their space. It has been raining for the last few days so we are extremely happy to use the centre as our home base while camping out on the porch overlooking Slocan Lake, and the Kootenay and Valhalla Mountains. Despite the rain, a few of us have gotten out to walk the labyrinth and gone into New Denver for some coffee and chocolate. Tomorrow we team up with Lucerne School and the Slocan Lake Stewardship Society to do some community work in New Denver. Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Redfish 2012 begins...

We're back! The Redfish School of Change is back at the Little Slocan Lodge and on adventure. We are 18 students and three instructors - living and learning together in the Kootenays. We come from across BC and Canada, with a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, study disciplines, and ideas for our action projects.
The first few days have been filled with various activities including two fantastic guests from the Columbia Basin Trust who welcomed and introduced us to the region, Jeremy Down and a jam session exploring the metaphors in music relating to communication and leadership, and Shanoon Bennett who shared her expertise on the wild food and medicines of the natural world. We lowered a tent pole... We reached concensus on our group values... (kincentricity, commitment, growth and celebration) We shopped for 21 people for 10 days... We built a foot bridge over Mulvey Creek... It's been a fantastic first few days
as we get to know each other and dive deep into concepts, ideas, questions, and build new skills and relationships.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Final Countdown

We’re on the final stretch of our Redfish journey – the last week! This by default, also means the end of food planning. Our last session took place along the Fraser River at the lovely Iona Park. The session itself was relatively short as it turns out we Redfishies become incredibly efficient the fourth time around. The session involved the always intense game of cut throat Pictionary, where favourite meals throughout our journey were highlighted. Highlights included Addy’s Trinidad stew, stir fry, quinoa, egg salad sandwiches and birthday cake. The actual food purchase its self, took place at the “Save on Foods” in Kitsilano, quite the luxury after previous experiences at gas stations turned grocery stores, such as Mountain Berry Foods in New Denver.

These last two weeks of the program are all about transitions. We’ve gone from the natural to the industrial along the Fraser, to arrive in the urban of Vancouver. We traded thermarests for mattresses, canoes for translink, colemans for stocked kitchens, and sanitized-rubbing-around-dirt hands for showers and cleanliness.
Tomorrow we depart for Galiano Island, where we will be both car camping and back-packing – two more transitions. The hardest transition of all will most likely be the journey home. Our community has grown and flourished together and this has truly been an unforgettable experience for many.

“We’re paddling the Fraser
Till we reach Van
4 nights, 5 days
That’s our plan”

“We’ve got gorp, water
And hand sanny to boot
See us approach
And hear our salute”
- Day 1 Fraser River Trip

- Carley, Chris & Isabel

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hello out there in the real world!

This blog entry will take you back a few weeks to our trip through the
Okanagan, where we met some rattlesnakes, farmers, and dangerous plants. And to cap it off, Julia, Kevin and Ella did a Food Planning Session for the Fraser River trip!

Being in wine country was a real treat. Unfortunately the Innkameep
Campsite was filled with poison ivy, but none of us touched it and we all
learned how to identify it quite quickly (for those that are interested,
leaves of three, shiny, bright green. Stay Away!)

We spent a morning at Covert Organic Farms with Gene Covert, an incredibly knowledgeable third generation farmer. While taking us on an intensive tour of his recently converted to organic farm, he answered quite a few Redfishie questions. We learned a lot, but most notable was that he would be out of business if he was still a conventional farmer, and he had been surprised by the productive capacity of his land under organic farming methods.

Later that day we paid an impromptu visit to a nearby feedlot, which was a pretty stark contrast. The cows were silent, but they were very curious about the 21 humans walking past their hot, dirty pens. It was an eye-opener to be sure, and our conversation with the owner put a human face on an issue that we had only read about so far.

After that busy morning, we had Food Planning Session #3! This took place on the beach, post-swim. While it would seem like a idyllic setting, the session was somewhat tainted by a strong wind that blew in some nasty allergens, but didn't quite get rid of the cloud of bugs hovering over our class. Needless to say, it was a quick session. We were a little nervous that we wouldn't have enough food for the river trip, especially since we were now providing for three hungry guides as well as the voracious Redfish appetites, but everyone was impressed by the quantity and quality of the meals on the Fraser. We also incorporated a new shopping approach that put more responsibility in the hands of each cooking group, and less stress onto the shoulders of our lovely instructors, who have been so patient with all our planning pitfalls.

Not to mention, we got a 20% discount at the Penticton Whole Foods. Take that, Mountainberry!