Building aquatic science capacity in our communities


September 28, 2007
North Island College

On September 27, 2007, North Island College signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the BC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences (BC CAHS) and New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) which will see the three organizations work together to build aquatic science capacity in aboriginal communities.

The purpose of the Agreement is to establish and further academic exchange opportunities, build capacity and cooperation in the field of aquatic sciences with an emphasis on Aboriginal and Maori Ecological Knowledge in Aboriginal and Maori communities and institutions.

One of the first elements of the initiative is to support an aboriginal student exchange program. BC CAHS will be recruiting two Maori graduate students to work on projects at the Centre, specifically the Gitxaala Environmental Monitoring Program and researching the role of Aboriginal Ecological Knowledge in scientific assessment. These students will be the first participants in the exchange and will play a mentorship and recruitment role, together with North Island College, in support of the next phase of the project, which is recruiting BC aboriginal youth interested in a science career and providing them with the opportunity to take a portion of their undergraduate studies in New Zealand as part of a larger Maori youth science training initiative.

The partnership builds upon North Island College’s successful “learning circle” model for aboriginal nurses by forming a group of young aboriginal scientists, strengthened initially by Maori scientist participation. This group of young scientists will tour First Nation coastal communities, visiting both college and K-12 students, as role models for success in the areas of mathematics and sciences.

New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research is an internationally respected research organization dedicated to creating and delivering innovative and unrivalled, science-based services and products that enable people and businesses to make best use of the natural environment and its living resources, and derive benefit from them in a sustainable manner.

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For further information on this exciting initiative please contact:

Maggie O’Sullivan
Dean, Developmental, Aboriginal and International Education
North Island College
Courtenay, BC
Tel: 250-334-5205

Linda Sams
Chief Executive Officer
BC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences
Campbell River, BC
Tel: 250-286-6102

For further information contact:

Susan Auchterlonie
Director, College & Community Relations
(250) 334-5271



871A Island Hwy
Campbell River, BC
V9W 2C2