Exploring the Great Bear Sea

In 2015, Green Fire Productions released The Great Bear Sea: Reflecting on the Past – Planning for the Future, a film about efforts to balance ecological, cultural and economic considerations along BC’s North and Central Coasts, and Haida Gwaii (click here to the watch the trailer).

The film features the region’s intact ecosystems, iconic wildlife and thriving coastal communities, and highlights the ongoing efforts of Coastal First Nations and the BC government to work together on the Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP) – a plan to protect marine ecosystems and ensure sustainable coastal economies.

Now, the filmmakers have gone a step further by putting together the Great Bear Sea curriculum – an inspiring suite of educational materials for elementary and secondary students, which is available online and free for use by teachers and students anywhere.

The lessons draw heavily from the film, using video clips of interviews with First Nations stewardship leaders and workers, including Coastal Guardian Watchmen, and they delve heavily into the rich cultural history of local communities (watch Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation Stewardship Director Doug Neasloss give a brief overview of recent First Nations history in one of the elementary lessons.)

The educational materials also include in-depth case studies of real planning efforts throughout coastal ecosystems. They weigh the perspectives of all parties, including resource users and managers, First Nation communities and other stakeholders, and give students a first-hand look at the complexity of collaborative management and decision-making.

Directly tied to new BC curriculum standards, which now include First Nations learning, environmental stewardship and place-based learning, the curriculum offers teachers a step-by-step guide for incorporating lessons in a classroom setting – including background context, learning outcomes, and suggested activities and evaluation.

Whether you’re a student, teacher or just interested in learning more about First Nations history or coastal stewardship, the Great Bear Sea curriculum is a wonderful resource.