MABRRI is excited to announce the following keynote speakers and host of the 2019 Regional Research Conference! Speaking towards Social and Cultural Sustainability, Dr. Amanda Wager will discuss the creative ways in which young people engage in their natural and local environments. Mark Holland will discuss Economic Sustainability - particularly exploring a framework of bioregional prosperity that addresses global and local economic systems. Finally, Dr. Isobel Pearsall will discuss Environmental Sustainability through the lens of the collaborative Salish Sea Marine Survival Project. MABRRI's Research Director, Dr. Pam Shaw, will be the host of the 2019 Regional Research Conference.


Dr. Amanda Wager

Dr. Amanda Wager is an interdisciplinary scholar, with internationally recognized expertise in community-based educational research with a focus in literacies, languages, and the arts with Indigenous, immigrant and marginalized youth, families, and communities. Her scholarship encompasses the fields of qualitative inquiry, participatory research methodologies, multimodal and multilingual literacies, Indigenous and culturally responsive pedagogies and arts education. Her community-based research in education is informed by 18 years of experience as a trilingual/literate/cultural (English/Spanish/Dutch) educator with children, youth, and adults in Canada, Peru, the Netherlands, and the United States. In recognition of Dr. Wager’s teaching, she was awarded the 2013 Killam Graduate Teaching Award at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Working within a Canadian context, specifically at Vancouver Island University (VIU), utilizes Dr. Wager’s research, teaching, and leadership expertise in engaging multimodal literacies for cross-cultural and Indigenous education within community-based educational research.

Keynote Presentation: Eco-Literate Young People: Creative Research in Cultural and Social Sustainability

Historically, youth have been a driving force for social change, and at the center of nearly all social movements. In consideration of current environmental consequences, young people may generate more sustainable means of living on this planet through cultural ways of knowing. When youth creatively engage in environmental issues they are more likely to move their thinking to individual and collective action. In co-cultivating eco-literate individuals, students, teachers, and community members may explore the intersections of nature, creativity, culture, and education. Through ongoing creations in and with outdoor learning spaces, young people further their eco-literacy by developing a repertoire of wellness practices that enable the crucial work of environmental stewardship. This key note seeks to advance understanding of the creative ways in which young people engage in their natural and local environments as a way to imagine and create cultural and global sustainability.

Mark Holland

Mark Holland is a nationally recognized leader in sustainability, planning, and development. He founded the City of Vancouver’s Sustainability Office and was a leading sustainability consultant in Canada for many years. He is the co-author of the book Agricultural Urbanism as well as another book on innovative urban land use combinations, Urban Magnets, to be published in 2019. He has worked on bioregional concepts for the MABR including exploring its unique socioeconomic identify. He has nearly a decade of experience in development consulting and managing large real estate development projects and is known for his new theories and strategies for sustainable regional growth and innovative urban models and concepts. Mark is a founding faculty member of the Masters of Community Planning program at Vancouver Island University where he teaches a range of practice and policy courses, including modules on economic development. In 2013, he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for his leadership in sustainable communities in Canada.

Keynote Presentation: A Unique Bioregional Economy: A framework for responsible regional prosperity in the 21st century

The 21st century presents a unique challenge and opportunity for bioregions in their quest for sustainability. The stewardship of a bioregional ecosystem is supported by a growing body of evidence and best practices and the science of local ecosystems offer a clear reference point for ecological health. In contrast, the socioeconomic context for a bioregion in the 21st century is dynamic and there is no clear blueprint for sustainability and prosperity for any given bioregion. This keynote will explore a framework of bioregional prosperity that addresses global and local economic systems, local strengths and weaknesses, and the growing importance of regional identify and eccentricity.

Dr. Isobel Pearsall

Dr. Isobel Pearsall is the Project Co-ordinator for the Pacific Salmon Foundation's Salish Sea Marine Survival Project and the Manager of the Strait of Georgia Data Centre. She holds a First Class degree in Pure and Applied Biology from Oxford University, a M.Sc. in Ecology from the Department of Biology at Dalhousie University, and a Ph.D. in Ecology from the Department of Plant Science, UBC. After her Ph.D. studies, she taught at San Diego State University, and was then a post-doctoral fellow in Ecosystem Management at the Pacific Biological Station, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Nanaimo. Since 1995, she has worked as a scientist on numerous programs for government, non-profit organizations and private industry. She is an Adjunct Professor at UBC.

Keynote Presentation: The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project

The Strait of Georgia, part of the Salish Sea, supports approximately 3,000 species of marine life, including all seven species of Pacific salmon. Further, the Strait of Georgia is fundamental to sustaining the diversity of Pacific salmon in southern B.C. Changes in the marine ecosystems of the Strait have been significant, including the loss of forage fishes, changes in marine plants, increases in seal populations, losses of some marine commercial fishes, and recently the introduction of several invasive species.

One of the most striking examples of reduced biodiversity in the Strait of Georgia is the loss of Chinook and Coho salmon abundance during the past 20 years. Recent catches in the Strait have been less than one-tenth of past levels, resulting in a ban on retention of wild Coho salmon and historically low catches of Chinook salmon. These losses have been well acknowledged, particularly in communities surrounding the Strait; yet understanding causes of the declines have remained a mystery.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) and its U.S. partner Long Live the Kings (LLTK) in Seattle, Washington developed a comprehensive transboundary approach to determine the primary factors affecting salmon and steelhead survival in the Salish Sea. The goal of the five-year project is to help improve future fisheries management policy and restore the economic and cultural benefits to communities surrounding the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project (SSMSP; brings together multidisciplinary international expertise from over 60 Federal and State agencies, Tribes and First Nations, academia, and non-profit organizations. The project’s integrated, ecosystem-based research framework incorporates coordinated data collection and standardization, information sharing, and international collaboration to better understand population dynamics within the Salish Sea ecosystem, improve forecasting and management, and aid recovery.

Since its launch in 2012, SSMSP researchers have developed novel sampling and management approaches and initiated ecosystem-based analyses benefitting forecasting and recovery. Overall, the research supported by this project is roughly 40% complete. PSF and LLTK are working with partnering scientists through 2019 to get the work completed and synthesize results Salish Sea-wide. Already, the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project has made a significant contribution to our understanding of wild Pacific salmon, and should allow for implementation of management actions which will increase Chinook and Coho production. Ultimately, we believe that our results and subsequent management actions will also benefit other marine life in the Salish Sea, such as the southern resident killer whales.

Dr. Pam Shaw

Pamela Shaw PhD MCIP RPP FRCGS is a 2018 3M Teaching Fellow, Geography Professor, Director of the Master of Community Planning Program, Research Director of the UNESCO Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Research Institute (MABRRI), Senior Editor of the International Journal of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, and a Fellow with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. She is on the Board of the Canadian Institute of Planners and Vice President of the Canadian Biosphere Reserve Association. Pam has also won multiple awards for teaching and is known for creatively engaging students in applied, community-based research. Many projects have developed in partnership with First Nations on Vancouver Island, with the research questions shaped by the Nation to address practical issues. Pam’s current research focuses on the human/nature relationship in biosphere regions.