Salmon Stewardship Becomes a Family Affair


For the Davies-Jarvis family, salmon stewardship and volunteering are all in the family.  Mom, Janice Jarvis, is a career biologist who formerly managed the Seymour Hatchery in North Vancouver.  As a former stewardshipcoordinator for Fisheries and Oceans Canada and currently a biologist with Metro Vancouver Regional Parks, she continues to work with volunteer groups while donating her own time for stewardship activities.

We’ve been dragging our kids around to volunteer events since they were toddlers,” said Jarvis.  “Something must have clicked because they continue to volunteer on their own time.  My daughter is 16 now and part of a leadership group at school.  Recently she organized 80 kids to remove invasive plants – so now she’s getting her friends involved.”

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2005 – From left, siblings Sarah and Brandon Davies at the Kanaka Creek Fish Fence in Maple Ridge show puppet props used to educate children and the public about the importance of salmon to the ecosystem and other species.

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2011 – Father and son team, Ross and Brandon Davies answer questions from the public and show returning chum adults at the Kanaka Return of the Salmon event. The October event welcomes the return of salmon to Kanaka Creek.

Encouraging youth volunteerism extends beyond their personal lives.  Jarvis’ husband, Ross Davies, works with the Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society in Maple Ridge.  The Society runs some 150 field and classroom programs engaging more than 4,000 students each year and 35,000 participants since 2003.

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September 2012 - Sarah and Brandon Davies plant shrubs in Kanaka Creek Regional Park help stabilize the soil around the creek and provide shade to maintain water temperatures for salmon.

“Kids have a natural engagement with nature and somewhere along the line they lose it if it’s not continually reinforced,” said Davies.  There are about 100 tributaries that drain into the Kanaka Creek Watershed – some of those are ditches behind malls with fish in them.”

Most of the Society’s programs teach students about urban impacts on salmon.  As urban pressures increase, Davies says it’s vital that youth continue to be engaged.

Davies says the young people he works with are also learning that they can help hold polluters accountable when pollution occurs.  One group of students was successful in causing some significant new water policy changes for Maple Ridge.  It all started when students at Samuel Robertson Technical Secondary School noticed the muddy water in Spencer Creek as the result of a new development.

“One girl at the back of the class said we needed to do something about it. So the kids took water samples and posted the results on the Society’s website,” said Davies.  “Next thing you know, the Mayor went to the company and demanded they improve their development practices.  Now Maple Ridge has some of the toughest silt control by-laws of any municipality.”

Since 1993, the Pacific Salmon Foundation has granted $190,260 for 16 projects to the Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society.  You can support programs that engage youth in salmon conservation through by donating through our secure online portal today.

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