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Highlights of progress since November, 2016

Working Group Committee is growing – Very skilled volunteers have come forward to commit their time towards the strategy, communications and other action items for preparing a successful nomination form to UNESCO’s Canadian Commission for Man and the Biosphere.

Support for the Initiative continues to grow –  At the end of March, 2017 the following communities have passed resolutions in support:  Village of Lions Bay, Municipality of Bowen Island, District of Squamish, Town of Gibsons, Sunshine Coast Regional District, Squamish Lillooet Regional District.

Media coverage – articles and interviews have been published in The Beacon, the Squamish Chief and Coast Reporter. Presentations at Council meetings and various organizations are helping to inform the communities.

Squamish Nation engagement – Following the introduction of the Initiative at the Howe Sound Community Forum in October, 2016, a meeting with Chief Ian Campbell, Chief Bill Williams and Councillor Chris Lewis prompted a level of interest in this initiative. There are many opportunities under this framework of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere to set an example internationally on how our communities engage with First Nations on the environmental recovery, economic and social sustainability, and cultural diversity of the region.

Vision 2020 – Timelines to achieve the UNESCO designation are evolving as the Initiative matures. Based on the current momentum the first step in submitting a draft nomination application is targeted for November, 2017.  Knowledge experts are starting to work on the content for the nomination form using previously successful applications as  a model.

Determining the Boundaries of the Biosphere Region – More detailed mapping is underway and a recommended boundary option is emerging.  Working collaboratively with Provincial Government staff, the preferred option follows the same boundaries as the Howe Sound Cumulative Effects Assessment.

The Initiative as an organization – Squamish Savings Credit Union is home to the Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative bank account. Funding for the initial work is through donations until such time as grants can be applied for when the organization becomes registered.

Website is underway – The work on content for a dedicated website and social media campaign has begun.  This website will provide a go-to place for all information about the Initiative as well as links to information about UNESCO and the Man and Biosphere framework.

How You Can Help:

  1. Do you have expert knowledge related to Howe Sound you can dedicate to our volunteer effort?  We welcome you.
  2. Invite us to tell you or a group more.  We have many to reach and we welcome opportunities.
  3. Do you have high quality photos you are willing to donate to our Biosphere Initiative website?  We are looking for images depicting the many relationships with Howe Sound.
  4. We welcome donations to help fund our volunteer efforts, particularly the new website.
  5. Follow Future of Howe Sound Society social media for upcoming opportunities to learn more.

For any of the above, please send an email to howesoundbri@gmail.com and we will respond.  You can also contact Ruth Simons @ 604 921-6564.

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