Tofino Botanical Gardens has transformed to honour Indigenous knowledge and conservation.
The Naa’Waya’Sum Coastal Indigenous Gardens will provide place-based education and inspiration to support Indigenous-led conservation.
By Shalu Mehta and Kelsie Kilawna, Indiginews.com – Published April 7, 2022
A major transformation is happening at the Tofino Botanical Gardens. After a transfer of ownership, the lands have “entered a new phase of life” and are becoming the Naa’Waya’Sum Coastal Indigenous Gardens, offering opportunities for place-based education and programming centred around Indigenous-led conservation.
On Tla-o-qui-aht lands, the 10-acre botanical gardens were established by Tofino resident George Patterson 25 years ago. Patterson said in a virtual announcement that for most of that time, he considered how the land could be given back to the Indigenous people who have been its stewards for generations.
Patterson eventually connected with Eli Enns, co-founder and president of the IISAAK OLAM Foundation, who facilitated the transfer of the land to MakeWay Canada’s Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) Innovation Program. Enns is also the founder and co-director of the IPCA Innovation Program.
While the gardens will remain open to visitors, their function will shift to centre the transfer of knowledge and Indigenous-led conservation. The gardens will also become the first IPCA Innovation Centre in Canada, serving as a hub for education, collaboration and innovation to support the establishment and stewardship of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas…