Our organization seeks to engage, educate, and empower youth to become agents of environmental and social change.

Taking action to engage with conservation issues in your own community is a powerful way to contribute to protecting the environment around you. Yet knowing where, when, and how to take action can seem like an insurmountable stumbling block. The Take a Stand program can help you take action in your community by hosting a variety of mentors (high school students, University students, and Community Organization representatives) to guide your participation in important conservation areas. Upon request we will provide a Community Action program at your school. Our various mentors will help you develop the skills and leadership to plant a community garden, care for our urban forests and streams, clear litter from a local beach, and monitor the vigor of various ecosystems. An expression of your commitment to conservation through art or music is another way of getting the public to listen and gives a voice to wilderness in both remote and urban areas. Meet local artists and filmmakers who will tell their stories to help inspire and hone your artistic skills, opening up new opportunities for you in the future. Bookings for the Community Action program to come to your school can be arranged and opportunities are available for youth experiential learning (kermode@sfu.ca).

The organizations in this section provide opportunities for youth in B.C. and across the nation to engage communities toward achievement of conservation goals. Working in groups or individually, students can launch their own action/passion projects toward our contest themes or participate in educating the public on an environmental issue through our Community Innovation Contest. This includes both our “general” Contest and our wild salmon priority contest (see the Contest section of the website).

Urban Salmon Project

A new collaboration has been forged with the Urban Salmon Project - Founder and Outdoor Storyteller Fernando Lessa. Fernando draws from his diving certification, Biology studies, and Master’s degree in Photography, in order to document freshwater environments. The amazing thing is that these environments are right in our backyards! This collaboration is allowing the Take a Stand Program to book schools for experiential learning opportunities for youth connected to wild salmon and salmon habitats through Fernando and his urban Salmon Walks. Fernando has strong experience in the field, having worked on projects in a wide variety of areas, including the untouched Amazon forest, the unique Brazilian savannah, the tropical rainforest of Brazil and the Atlantic Ocean. Urban Salmon is Fernando’s first project in North America, and within 3 years, the program has published books and documentary films and visited 28 creeks and rivers in Metro Vancouver alone. Visit www.urbansalmon.com.

Wilderness Committee

The Wilderness Committee works to protect Canada’s remaining biodiversity through strategic research and grassroots public education that is grounded in principles of human rights and social justice. They have helped to protect over 60 major wilderness areas in Canada, including millions of hectares of critical wildlife habitats and some of the world's last large tracts of old-growth temperate rainforest and boreal forest. Education and action initiatives focus partly on climate change, and they have enhanced public awareness on the risks and impacts of unsustainable energy production and transport (oil, liquid natural gas, and coal). Attractive for youth, is their Endangered Species campaign, which features several films including one in the works - Toad People - a film focusing on several BC communities who are standing up for the conservation of toads threatened by habitat degradation and fragmentation, by building safe passages for the toads. Youth are invited to support and participate in this and other campaigns. Visit www.wildernesscommittee.org.

Sierra Club BC

Sierra Club BC’s main goal is to inspire generations to defend nature and confront climate change, so that families, communities and the natural world can prosper together. Sierra Club BC is preserving BC’s wild places and species by campaigns to protect B.C.’s forests, watersheds and at-risk species, particularly within the Flathead River Valley, and the Great Bear Rainforest, preparing for ongoing and future climatic shifts. The organization is working with the government and B.C. communities to take meaningful climate action – both climate change mitigation by preservation of healthy forests – and by confronting issues that are intimately connected to climate change, such as food security, and a shift away from heavy reliance on unsustainable fossil fuels. Sierra Club BC is also inspiring British Columbian’s to value nature, and has developed a variety of educational resources and school programs. To find out more about how you can get involved, visit www.sierraclub.bc.ca.

Surfrider Foundation –Vancouver & Vancouver Island Chapters

Surfrider Foundation Vancouver is a 100% volunteer-run registered Canadian charity dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of waves, oceans and beaches. Established under the same principles as the Vancouver Chapter, is Surfrider Foundation - Vancouver Island, which covers the Victoria and Tofino regions. Surfrider Foundation encompasses a community of recreational ocean users committed to preserving healthy coastlines for future generations. Their outreach and education programs impart hands-on opportunities to youth and others in the community to address ocean and coastal pollution, including beach clean-ups and other activities. The connection between Surfrider and the Take A Stand program will help to connect youth with opportunities to make a difference for coastal conservation. Get involved as a volunteer or become a member today! For youth who live in Vancouver, find out more at: Vancouverbc.surfrider.org. For those who live in Victoria or Tofino, find out more at: vancouverisland.surfrider.org

Raincoast Conservation Foundation

Raincoast is a not-for-profit research and public education organization that relies on the support of donors, sponsors, and volunteers. Comprised of a research-driven team of conservationists and scientists, the organization aims to protect the lands, waters and wildlife of coastal British Columbia. Protection of the habitats and resources of umbrella species is a primary focus, helping to ensure survival of all species and ecological processes that exist at different scales. They work in close partnership with scientists, First Nations, local communities and non-government organizations to build support for decisions that protect marine and rainforest habitat on BC’s coast. Raincoast is always seeking youth volunteers - see their website under About/Get Involved. Youth interested in art can make connections to several artists that took up paintbrushes and carving tools in an effort to protect Canada’s fragile Raincoast. Raincoast has also hosted unique opportunities to youth – including providing the chance for a young student to participate in gathering scientific data on their research vessel. Find out more at: www.raincoast.org

Pacific Wild

Pacific Wild is a non-profit organization working to protect wildlife and their habitat on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast. Their work involves cutting-edge research, education and outreach, and focuses on implementing solution-based conservation strategies. It mobilizes a concerned global citizenry to achieve large-scale wildlife protection, and to ensure that biodiversity protection is at the forefront of land and marine use decisions. The organization supports innovative research, public education, community outreach and awareness to achieve the goal of lasting environmental protection in the lands and waters of the Great Bear Rainforest. Pacific Wild helps to provide a conduit for engagement in conservation issues by facilitating the writing of letters to newspaper editors and to politicians, so that concerns regarding the issues facing Canada's Pacific coast can be relayed by the general public and by youth. See Pacific Wild’s Great Bear Rainforest IMAX trailer and find out more at: www.pacificwild.org

Environmental Youth Alliance

The Environmental Youth Alliance works to engage and empower youth to create meaningful, positive action for the community and environmental health. Their programs have a key priority to build transformative nature experiences for young people through hands-on native plant gardening, wild pollinator monitoring, wildlife habitat stewardship, urban re-wilding projects, and citizen science data collection. Check out the opportunities at www.eya.ca

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)

CPAWS is Canada’s voice for wilderness with a vision to protect at least half of our country’s public land and water, and to ensure that our parks are managed to protect the nature within them. As a national charity with 13 chapters, 60,000 supporters and hundreds of volunteers, CPAWS works collaboratively with governments, local communities, industry and indigenous peoples to protect Canada’s amazing natural places. The Provincial Ocean and Coastal Coordinator can help connect youth to the organization’s various programs and volunteer opportunities are available. Find out more at: www.cpaws.org

Stanley Park Ecology Society

Stanley Park Ecology Society is a not-for-profit environmental organization that operates in partnership with the Vancouver Park Board in Stanley Park. SPES promotes awareness of and respect for the natural world and plays a leadership role in the stewardship of Stanley Park through collaborative initiatives in education, research and conservation. The Society offers opportunities for youth and all community members to get involved in the stewardship of the park through hands-on participation in habitat restoration initiatives. Youth can directly participate in some fun and interesting programs that are headed up by artists – including the harvesting of invasive plant species and converting them into usable objects (baskets, rope), or bio-netting to improve slope stability of sensitive areas. Find out more at: www.stanleyparkecology.ca