Coming together, from afar

View from Little Mountain
Author: Anna Lawrence

Hi! I’m new around here, but my MABRRI coworkers have made me feel so welcome. I’ve joined the team as a Research Assistant for the Canadian Mountain Network (CMN) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) project, which is analyzing current initiatives across Canada, and their alignment with the 17 SDGs. So far, I’ve been working with two project supervisors to interview stakeholders, collect and analyze data, and map our findings. Although this year has been a wild ride for everyone, Zoom meetings have worked out well for us, with an added bonus of being able to meet each other’s pets!

I think one of my favorite parts of the project so far has been the opportunity to talk with experts sharing traditional knowledge, as we have been lucky enough to learn from Indigenous CMN  stakeholders. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited to learn about reintroduction initiatives of bison in Banff National Park, and the significance of bison as a keystone species? It’s been so heartening to hear of projects that move to sustain the environment and their people, something increasingly crucial in a global landscape of climate crisis and resource depletion. 

A rewarding outcome of this project is the opportunity to promote Canadian initiatives within mountain ecosystems, and learn about the ways in which communities and projects are uniting to create a more sustainable future. The emphasis of human-environmental interconnection has been evident in both the CMN and MABRRI, and it’s all the more meaningful that we, in the MABRRI community, are contributing to the CMN with the writing of the SDG report. It’s an honor to advocate for the national mountain network by contributing research conducted in our own local mountain ecosystem, by the Salish Sea. 

On a personal level, the opportunity to analyze qualitative data with such capable and bright coworkers has also helped me in my own data analysis for my thesis here at VIU. This position feels like a project that provides within multiple tiers- in addition to contributing from MABBRI to the CMN, it’s also provided individual benefit, in knowledge mobilization, inspiration and skill development. Studying in the Sustainable Leisure Management program, I’ve learned that lasting change often begins on a small scale, as illustrated within the development of MABRRI and the many initiatives within the CMN.  So, even though this year feels different, strange, and maybe a little scary, we’re supporting resilience on a personal, community and national level, and that sounds like a step in the right direction to me!