Meet Shannon McPhail & Brian Huntington
The Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition began as an idea among community members in the Kispiox Valley out of concern for the long term health of the Skeena River watershed. A plan for coalbed methane drilling in the Sacred Headwaters back in 2004 inspired SWCC to grow and partner with the Tahltan Nation to ensure that the headwaters of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine rivers were not turned into a gas field. SWCC has been hard at work ever since to promote awareness of threats to the watershed and to back actions to protect and preserve its integrity. SWCC thrives on new ideas and figuring out the best way to reach out to the watershed with new information and educational events.
It’s not just the spectacular scenery that makes this area so special. The area’s rich culture and history also make it noteworthy, and the culture is very much tied in with the land that SWCC is trying to preserve. The diversity and acceptance between different cultures and walks of life is another thing that sets it apart. It is a community that is made up of diverse groups of people from different walks of life, and everyone works together to make the community what it is.
SWCC believes that the Hazeltons are a wonderful place to invest in. “Community members have become courageous entrepreneurs," say SWCC founders Shannon McPhail and Brian Huntington. "We have always had a resilience and work ethic, but since the logging collapse in the late 1990s the communities have found ways to build a more sustainable local economy. Initiatives like Thrive (working to beautify and promote Old Hazelton) have popped up in a collaborative effort to work together to build an image of our community that makes it attractive to visitors.”
Innovative. Community-Minded. Green.
The Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition (SWCC) is an environmental non-profit organization that focuses on the health of the Skeena watershed. Its mission is to cultivate a sustainable future from a sustainable environment rooted in culture and a thriving wild salmon ecosystem. Its membership is made up of people who live and work in the Skeena River watershed region and have a passion for promoting and sustaining a healthy watershed through conservation, resource management and environmental stewardship for upcoming generations.
The SWCC offers a number of outreach and educational programs to help inform the public and promote awareness of the importance of watershed conservation. Programs include a free youth rafting program, educational workshops, Skeena Kids, plus many community events throughout the calendar year. Numerous volunteer opportunities are available.
The Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition was the recipient of the 2010 and 2012 ‘Tides Top Ten’ award for being the most effective & innovative organization in Canada.
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