Professor Tom Hinckley spent seven days (September 16th to 22nd) with UW students exploring issues of land management and stewardship in the face of bark beetles, climate change, fire, invasive organisms, and legacies of failed or inappropriate land management approaches. These factors have combined to produce major environmental issues in both countries. However, the perception and solutions to these problems vary depending upon national and regional differences and how land is owned or allocated and managed. The course focused on the environment around Loomis, Washington and Kamloops, British Columbia where students had the opportunity to see these problems first hand and to talk with a wide variety of stakeholders.
The students spent their first day walking into Horseshoe Basin in the Cascades and into the heart of the 2006 Tripod Complex Fire and in the remaining days met with 13 different stakeholders. On the Canadian side of the border representatives from the Kamloops Indian Band, the British Columbia Ministry of Forestry, the City of Kamloops Parks and Recreation, Sun Peaks Resort and the Thompson River University all provided presentations.
The breadth of the perspectives made a marked impact on the students. “I was inspired by John Jules,” said Joanne Ho, a graduate student participant from Forest Resources. (John Jules is the Director of Cultural and Natural Resources for the Kamloops Indian Band.) “I thought it was great how he looked at each issue as separate, and understood the complexity of how each issue is intertwined with the whole problem … In his words, there is something positive in everything if one chooses to see it that way. I am very impressed by that and inspired to think of ways to deconstruct borders, given the constraints we face.”
The course provided the students with insights into the challenges of decision and policy-making in a bi-national ecosystem and how differing Canadian and US values and laws can impact the effectiveness of environmental management.
Funding – The course received significant funding from a National Science Foundation Grant, Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship entitled, “Multinational Collaborations on Challenges to the Environment,” and from a Center Program Enhancement Grant from Foreign Affairs, Canada.