Living Lab Update Feb 2019

We are thrilled to announce that the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) will fund the Living Lab Project with a new Promo Science grant for two more years.  This means we won’t have to apply again next fall!  Thanks to all of you (The Songhees and WSANEC Nations, the Xwaaqw’um Project, the Capital Region District, World Fisheries Trust, and from UVic, the Faculty of Science, the Office of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement, Science Venture, the UVic Departments of Geography, Biology, Indigenous Education, History, Child and Youth Care and Environmental Studies, and the Community Mapping Collaboratory) for letters of support, office space, and the in-kind or cash donations.  It made a difference: the project has more than doubled its current NSERC funding for each of the next two years.  The Living Lab Project is also generously supported by the Horner Foundation (in partnership with the Songhees Nation) and the UVic Aboriginal Service Plan (coordinated by the Office of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement and funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education).

Our goals for the Promo Science part of Living Lab for the next two years are to expand the number of participants and activities in our region, while continuing to balance fieldwork, lab work and community engagement.  Capacity building, largely through Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) training (in school and on the land/water) will be a key feature of the upcoming program.  Also, Eco-cultural Restoration (focussing on the Reef-Net Fishery and on Clam Gardens) serves an excellent ‘umbrella’ covering such subjects as water quality testing, invertebrate and zooplankton diversity, willow silviculture, and ocean plastics surveys, just to name a few.

Dr. Nick Claxton, of the W̱SÁNEĆ Nation, speaking at a Living Lab gathering at the First People’s House
Cheryl Bryce of the Songhees Nation speaking at the event

Please stay tuned for regular updates and for opportunities for learning and sharing on and off campus in the coming months.


John Taylor (UVic Science-Biology), Nick Claxton (W̱SÁNEĆ Nation/UVic Child and Youth Care) and Maeve Lydon (LLab Project Manager)

Tl’Ches (Little Chatham Is) 2018

An incredible and unforgettable day.  Standing in the circle around an ancient longhouse foundation with Elder Lyall, whose direct ancestors lived on the Islands, sharing his knowledge with the youth. Having Chief Ron Sam and his family,  Cheryl Bryce, Charlotte Charlie, and other Songhees Nation members, and guests together on the land supporting each other created a beautiful day. Imagining the Reefnet fishery happening alongside the village and learning about the willow (still there) and local technologies to create the nets and hooks was so much more powerful standing on the land right where it would have been happening thousands of years ago.  Hearing about current ecocultural restoration efforts on the land and water helped round out the learning – reminding us that life carries on and there is valuable and enjoyable work to do today.

It was an honor to hear Lyall sharing his memories and stories about traditional fishing and the need to remember history and why it is key to healing and decolonization.

Thank you Rayn and Frankie for your coordination – along with Cynthia and Linda ( all SAYL Living Lab summer interns)  The team are doing a great job supported by other SAYL members. Oh yes, the gelato ice cream was also amazing to top off the day….

Youth in the best classroom
Archaeologist Darcy Mathews sharing his passion about Tl’Chess’ amazing capacity as a classroom
Learning and sharing out on the land
A wonderful group of people sharing an amazing day on Tl’Ches, August 2018
Learning about traditional foods, native plants, and invasive species from knowledge holder Cheryl Bryce
Standing around an ancient longhouse foundation with Songhees youth, researchers and Songhees knowledge holders.