Banner Photo Credit: Carmen Leung

Sense of Place and Wellbeing

Connection to nature is a powerful force uniting all those who call Howe Sound home. Many of the people who live, work and play in the region view themselves as stewards, contributing to a local identity that hinges on respect for the environment and a desire to protect sensitive ecosystems, now and into the future.

After surviving the effects of residential schools, colonialization and industrialization, Howe Sound’s first peoples — the Squamish Nation — are in a period of cultural renewal and continuity. Efforts to revive the Squamish language and traditions are beginning to take effect, reaffirming cultural ties to nature and positioning Indigenous people as leaders in the area. The Squamish are an important voice in determining policies and practices to manage growth in the region and mitigate environmental impacts.

“Squamish people learned everything about their surroundings from their parents and extended family prior to contact. This provided a continuity of traditional knowledge and uses of the resources within their homelands and waters.”

– quote from Cultural Continuity article 

Meanwhile, citizen scientists play an increasingly crucial role in monitoring the health of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in Howe Sound by acting as the scientific community’s eyes and ears. From participation in wildlife surveys, to running advocacy campaigns, to participating in public consultations, the work of citizen scientists fills gaps in the regulatory framework governing Howe Sound. This has contributed to some major wins for conservation efforts, such as the expansion of Halkett Bay Marine Park. At the same time, Howe Sound’s proximity to Metro Vancouver has positioned it as an “outdoor classroom” — a valuable resource for environmental education. More than 22,000 students visit the area each year to participate in education programs while many more people receive conservation education through ecotourism, summer camps and events aimed toward ensuring all who visit the area are armed with the knowledge necessary to reduce their impact on this ecological jewel.

Ocean Watch Rating Legend

Ratings are meant to provide the reader with a visual snapshot summary about the subject.  Subject ratings were assigned by the Coastal Ocean Research Institute based on application of the criteria to the information in each article.

1) The status is healthy according to available data, 2) the trend is positive if known, 3) some data are available, and/or 4) actions to address or mitigate are well underway and are known to be effective. Actions should be taken to maintain positive status and/or trend.

Status, trend, data, and/or actions provide contradictory or inconclusive information. Actions are needed to move into positive status and trend and avoid negative status and trend.

1) Impacts or issues are high risk or have resulted in a low or vulnerable status, 2) improvements are uncertain, minor, or slow, and/or 3) actions to address or mitigate are non-existent, vague, or have low effectiveness. Actions are needed to move into positive status and trend.

Not rated due to the nature of the article, or there are not enough data to produce an assessment.

Snapshot Assessment

Sense of Place and Wellbeing

Cultural Continuity

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Efforts to bolster the Squamish Nation’s language and traditions have ignited a period of cultural renewal and continuity for Howe Sound’s Indigenous people. (Assessment is not appropriate due to the nature of the subject).

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Citizen Science

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Many community members play an important role in monitoring the health of Howe Sound. Citizen science effort is increasing and contributes to a positive sense of place.

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Outdoor Learning

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From outdoor schools to summer camps to ecotourism, opportunities for environmental education abound in Howe Sound’s “outdoor classrooms.” The increase in outdoor learning provides health benefits with no known negative impacts.

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OHI Score for Sense of Place

58

Howe Sound scores 58 out of 100 for Sense of Place; a score that combines a 70 for iconic species and a 45 for lasting special places. A healthy ocean provides a deep sense of identity and belonging through connections with our marine communities.

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