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“Doug is a great educator and a tireless volunteer and advocate for the local fresh and salt water ecosystems. He is very unselfish resource for local stewardship communities,” says nominator, Rob Bell-Irving.
Douglas Swanston, a biologist and environmental consultant, has been providing aquatic and marine life education and services through his business, Seacology, for over 30 years.
But his work on environmental awareness and stewardship dates back to his elementary school days. In the 1960’s and 70’s, along with fellow students, teachers and the Bayview School community, he helped to create, maintain and enhance local parks in his original neighbourhood of Kitsilano and Jericho beach.
As part of his work today, Douglas is very active in aquatic education for school groups. For example he worked with elementary school aged students in a field and classroom program on North Vancouver’s Mackay Creek, a project that used art and science workshops to raise awareness about the importance of stream and estuary habitats for salmon. He can frequently be found in the classroom or in the field with students of all ages.
Douglas has also built awareness of marine life and values by setting up annual displays at community celebrations such as the Vancouver Folk Music Festival (for 20 years) and the Coho Festival (for 14 years).
Recently, Douglas has been active in the Squamish Streamkeepers herring egg conservation efforts in the Squamish Estuary and In Vancouver’s False Creek. This work involves trying to increase herring egg survival rates by designing optional spawning surfaces that protect the eggs from contaminants in the area. Douglas has also assisted marine habitat restoration efforts of the West Vancouver Shoreline Preservation Society.
He is also currently advocating for the restoration and creation of eelgrass beds in Vancouver Harbour, Burrard Inlet. Working with BCIT Restoration Ecology Program, Douglas has initiated an experiment restoring eelgrass to the Lynn Creek Estuary. (Read more about the project)
Although Douglas is paid for much of his stewardship work, like many professionals who are committed to protecting our environment, he also volunteers a lot of his time. He is currently a board member of the Coho Society, a society committed to supporting the protection and revitalization of North Shore salmon streams and rivers. Previously, he was a board member of the Marine Life Sanctuaries Society.
Nominated by: Rob Bell-Irving
Want to nominate your own stewardship champion? Just fill out this short form.
One of the easiest ways to leave a legacy is through your will. Take our short Will Quiz as a first step.
Stewardship is about taking responsibility to promote, monitor, conserve and restore ecosystems for current and future generations of all species.
There are three types of environmental stewards:
1. Doers help out by taking action on the ground.
2. Donors help by donating money, land or other resources.
3. Practitioners work to steer agencies, scientists, stakeholder groups or other groups toward a stewardship outcome.