Winter Semester in Natural Resource Studies (Jan - Apr)

"Experiences like our trip to see the forest operations are a constant reminder of the pressures put on forests to sustain resource dependent communities and the changes that must be made to ensure a functional relationship with the forest can continue into the distant future"   -  Ansley Charbonneau, University of Guelph

The course offerings designed for the Haida Gwaii Winter Semester provide an integrated, interdisciplinary examination of issues in natural resource management, using Haida Gwaii as the primary example for study. Students learn outside the walls of the classroom through the use of experiential and participatory approaches to student learning implemented by passionate instructors, each experts in their fields.

Diversifying Resource-Dependent Communities, History and Politics of Resource Management, First Nations and Natural Resources, and Rainforest Ecology and Management are each three weeks in length. The 'Case Studies in Haida Gwaii' course runs throughout the semester. Course instructors create linkages for smooth transitions between course topics and themes. In each course, local content is provided by community experts and knowledge-holders.

2015 Courses & Instructors


History and Politics of Resource Management (HGSE 351)

Instructed by Dr. L. Anders Sandberg

How do ideas about nature influence the ways in which we interact with and manage natural resources? Why is history important in understanding the politics of resource management? This course takes a historical approach to examining resource management and conflicts in Canada, with a particular focus on forests. Course topics include the social nature of forests; the history of forestry in Canada; First Nations, imperialism, and forests; race, class and gender in the woods; and contemporary forest conflicts and claims.


Diversifying Resource Dependent Communities (HGSE 354)

Instructed by Professor David Douglas

Large-scale political and economic changes are reshaping rural, resource-dependent communities in British Columbia and elsewhere, but responsibility for community wellbeing and survival is increasingly being left to communities themselves. This course offers an in-depth examination of the forces that restructure local economies, both historic and contemporary, and links rural economic development with the legacy of resource development and marginalization of Aboriginal communities across British Columbia.


First Nations and Natural Resources (HGSE 352)

Instructed by Satsan (Herb George)

This course provides an overview of First Nations and natural resources, with a particular focus on First Nations involvement in forest management, present and past. Course topics include relationships between First Nations and forest lands and resources, traditional ecological knowledge, Aboriginal and treaty rights (and Aboriginal self-governance) and their incorporation into forest management, First Nations forest tenure, relationships between First Nations and other groups including provincial and federal governments, the forest industry and environmental non government organizations.

Rainforest Ecology and Management (HGSE 353)

Instructed by Dr. Andy MacKinnon

How do natural and anthropogenic disturbances alter the structure, composition and function of coastal temperate rainforests? How do forests respond to different types and intensities of disturbance, and what are the implications for forest management? How can we use field data to examine and understand coastal temperate rainforests? In this course we will learn about, explore, and collect data in a variety of forest ecosystems at a range of successional stages in Haida Gwaii.

Case Studies in Haida Gwaii (HGSE 350)

Semester-long weekly "project course". Update coming soon! 


Click here for information on accrediting these courses towards your academic program.

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Out of Class Experiences Haida Gwaii Semester Winter 2014 Haida Gwaii Semester Fall 2012 Haida Gwaii Semester Winter 2012

“I foresee many exciting opportunities here on Haida Gwaii and hope that with continued studies I will be involved in the future of forestry on Haida Gwaii.”

~ Lynn Hughan, 2010 Haida Gwaii Semester Student (Local Haida Gwaii student)