Redfish 2011 Alumni Chris Hildreth on the news!

Check out a Redfish School of Change alumni profiled in Victoria news for an exciting new business he’s started: Top Soil.  Way to go, Chris!

Chris Hildreth and Top Soil gardens

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Check out the Redfish School of Change Facebook page [external link] and become a fan by clicking on the “like” button.

Redfish School of Change 2015 will explore the Ecology, Communities, and Change Makers of the Salish Sea

Salmon don’t carry passports.  Orcas don’t identify as Canadian or American.  The waters of the Salish Sea are shared between Canada and the United States, and many of the gifts and challenges of the region affect both nations.  How are the people that share the same bioregion-but carry different passports- working for change?

The 2015 Redfish School of Change will explore these questions in this place.  Eighteen students and three instructors will travel by kayak, bicycle, bus and foot, exploring the region named the Salish Sea.

The Central Salish Sea

“It’s such an exciting development,” says Ryan Hilperts, Director of the Redfish School of Change. “Bioregional issues very rarely stop at international borders.  I’m thrilled to be able to explore these lands and waters with Redfish students and begin to broaden perspectives on the issues that we all share-Canadians and Americans- living in this place.”

The 2015 program will run from July 8 to August 15, and will for the first time bring together instructors and students from both Canada and the United States. Students will travel by bicycle, kayak, and on foot, from sea level and into the mountains in Olympic National Park. Applications from Canadian students are being accepted now.  American applications will be accepted beginning late February.

Meet Ryan Hilperts, Redfish Director

We extend a warm welcome to Ryan Hilperts, the new Director of the Redfish School of Change! Founding Director, Nadine Raynolds, passed the baton in August, after the school’s fourth semester. Ryan has worked with the Redfish School of Change since its inception: she participated in the initial visioning sessions in 2008, acted as a teaching assistant in 2009, and served as the political ecology instructor in the field school in 2011 and 2012. When she is not busy in her role at GreenLearning, Ryan is a sessional lecturer at the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria.

Ryan Hilperts“I’m so excited to build on the previous four years of success of this unique program,” Ryan says. “Working with Redfish students has always been so rewarding. I have seen up close how Redfish inspires passionate students to act to create change in their own communities. As Director, I am looking forward to helping the program reach more students, serve more communities, and continue to lead Canada’s field schools in inspiring action. I see a great future for this school,” Ryan says. “This is thanks to the incredibly hard work and dedication of Founding Director, Nadine Raynolds; Redfish instructors Brenda Beckwith and James Rowe; and the School’s many supporters over the years.”

Read about our time in the field!

The 2012 field school began on May 17th at Little Slocan Lodge in the West Kootenays. Over five weeks, these eighteen participants lived and learned together, concluding their journey with a backpacking trip in Kokanee Glacier Park. Hear from participants on the Redfish School of Change blog:

2012 field school

Girls in Real Life — Action Project a Huge Success

G.I.R.L. 29th GENERATION magazineRedfish 2010 alumni, Peggy Lam and Neelam Khare, launched the first Girls In Real Life (G.I.R.L.) magazine and community dialogue! The event took place in February 2012 and brought together over 80 members from various communities in Vancouver, BC. The launch began with performances and presentations from G.I.R.L. participants. Through reading excerpts from their magazine, telling stories, and using spoken word poetry, the young Vancouver girls showcased what they’ve learned, what they’re passionate about, and what they’ve done to address issues in their community. Peggy and Neelam have been working with these girls for one full year, from running the actual multi-day program to the 8 month phase of the follow-up magazine making. The launch marks the completion of the first cohort of the Girls In Real Life program and the launch of the first 29th GENERATION magazine!

To learn more about where this project is going and to check out the magazine, click here.

Meet Councillor Raynolds

You know her as the Founder and Director of Redfish School of Change, but now you can also call her Councillor. In November 2011, Nadine Raynolds was elected to serve as a Municipal Councillor in New Denver, British Columbia.

Become a Facebook Fan

Check out the Redfish School of Change Facebook page and become a fan by clicking on the “like” button.

Alumni Restore Stories

Restoring StoriesSyke Augustine and Erin Lawless recently facilitated their Restoring Stories workshop at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary in Saanich, BC. In October, six adults and six children spent the day discovering the power of nature and of telling stories. Skye and Erin designed the workshop to cultivate connections between young people and their elders and between people and place. After a nature walk, individuals told a story about a place that is important to them. Their recorded stories will be added to a digital community map to share with the wider community. Skye and Erin report: “We got some great stories… Some of the pairs recorded several stories each! Watching them so engaged in sharing stories and connecting about their stories was very rewarding.”

Redfish Alum ImPLANTs Change

PLANT magazineIsabel Slone, a 2011 Redfish participant and aspiring fashion editor, finds many aspects of the fashion industry problematic from environmental and feminist perspectives. For her community action project, Isabel wanted to encourage critical dialogue about these issues. To do so, she produced the first issue of her own fashion magazine entitled PLANT, now available at

Hear Redfish on EcoCentric

Listen to an interview with Nadine Raynolds, Director of the Redfish School of Change, and Shannon MacDonald, 2011 Redfish participant, on the Kootenay Co-op Radio show, EcoCentric. Click hereand fast forward 26 minutes for the interview. Thanks for listening!

See the Redfish blog!

Redfish 2011

The 2011 field school began on May 2nd at Little Slocan Lodge in the West Kootenays. For five weeks, participants traveled into Valhalla Provincial Park, on the Harrison and Fraser Rivers in three voyageur canoes, and around Galiano Island.

Discover the Redfish School of Change blog at

Redfish Alumni Empower Vancouver Girls

Neelam Khare and Peggy Lam, alumni from the 2010 Redfish School of Change, recently hosted Girls In Real Life (G.I.R.L.), an intensive 7-day empowerment education program in Vancouver. During spring break, eleven participants from across the city met for a series of workshops on watersheds and ecosystems, food security and urban gardening, body image and the media’s construction of beauty, homophobia and LGBTQ issues, sexual exploitation and self-esteem, oppression and their own identities.Neelam and Peggy report that “the participants were able to reflect on their own experiences of discrimination, embrace their identities, bond together as a family, connect with change-makers and other role models in their communities, build their own peer-support group, and complete a project…on a social justice or environmental issue of their choice.” The participants will also create a magazine to amplify the voices of youth and highlight positive role models in their communities. In the final phase of this empowering project, Neelam and Peggy will host community dialogues that bring G.I.R.L. participants into conversation with community members to talk about community action. Click here to learn more about the inspiring community action projects of Redfish participants.

2010 News

The Essence of Redfish

A recent article in Essence, the online newsletter of the University of Victoria’s Environmental Studies Student Association, features three 2010 students from the Redfish School of Change. To see the article, “Redfish Swimming in a Sea of Change,” click here.

Redfish in The Ring

A recent article in the University of Victoria’s community newsletter, The Ring, highlights 2010 students from the Redfish School of Change. To see the article, “Field school experience grooms environmental /community leaders,” click here.

2010 Field School a Tremendous Success

The 2010 Redfish School of Change was a tremendous success—an outstanding experience for students and instructors! Students have developed action plans for environmental projects in their communities and on their campuses. They will apply their learning and implement their initiatives in the months ahead through their community action projects.

Follow the 2010 Class!

Visit the Redfish School of Change blog to hear from the sixteen students from across Canada who are now participating in the 2010 semester of the Redfish School of Change from May 12 to June 19, 2010.

2010 classIn a unique fusion of academic and experiential learning, we are travelling from the mountains of the Slocan Valley to the coast of southern Vancouver Island. Over six intensive weeks, we will trek across southern British Columbia, visit innovative sites, and engage with experts in the field of environment and social justice.

2009 News

“Ho Seeks Justice in the Wild”

The Imprint, the student newspaper of the University of Waterloo, featured a story about Redfish alumnus Elaine Ho and her experience with Redfish School of Change. Click here to read the article.

The First Field School

Redfish class of 2008The Redfish School of Change completed its first field school with tremendous success. Sixteen youth from across Canada participated in the program. The students’ diverse backgrounds, ages, geographic locations and study disciplines made for an exceptional learning community. Living and learning together, participants visited people and places across southern British Columbia. They  toured ecological restoration sites, worked on organic farms, conducted ecological sampling in three bioregions, explored food security and sovereignty locally and globally, and engaged with almost 50 change agents in the field of environment and social justice. Students explored the wilderness of Valhalla Provincial Park, and witnessed the changing nature of the Fraser River as they paddled into Vancouver.

The Redfish School of Change was a profound experience for the students, instructors, and the guests who joined the journey along the way. Students learned critical knowledge and skills for creating positive change, and applied these throughout this community-oriented program. As one student commented:

“By participating in the Redfish School of Change program, I acquired the kind of experience that provides one with life-changing insights. This excursion into uncharted territory was a once in a lifetime opportunity that proved to be a source of inspiration for a better future. It is by interacting with young individuals who share the same burning passion to create change in the world, by making difficult decisions and overcoming challenges with them, that I developed and will continue to develop the particular skills necessary to dedicate my life to this worthy cause… It was a chance to meet others who share a similar ambition and feed the fire that burns inside me.”

Integral to the program, each participant developed action plans for projects they will now pursue in their communities. Projects vary from hosting an arts-based event to protecting marine wildlife and creating “homefulness” in their community, to facilitating youth education workshops and changing food options available on campus. Students are supported through their action projects. They have decided on several post-program activities such as the blog, a group learning journal, monthly gatherings online and by phone, and a reunion in the summer of 2010.

The Redfish School of Change is preparing for our second semester in spring 2010 — building on the feedback and lessons learned from this wonderful inaugural year.

Media release  »  June 2, 2009

Canoeing into VancouverVancouver, BC — Sixteen river-weary young people arrive in Vancouver this week after paddling the Fraser River from Hope to Jericho Beach as part of a ground-breaking new youth leadership program. These times of environmental and economic uncertainty call for exceptional leadership, and the Redfish School of Change has responded to the challenge with a unique field school that has participants “in the field for the future.”

“The Redfish School of Change is designed for youth who have a passion for finding solutions to environmental and social challenges,” says Nadine Raynolds, Director of the Redfish School of Change. “We have a group of amazing young leaders from across Canada who bring a diversity of backgrounds, study disciplines, interests and perspectives.”

This intensive six-week field school, accredited through the University of Victoria’s School of Environmental Studies, takes participants from the mountains of the Slocan Valley to the west coast of Vancouver Island. Along the way, students visit innovative sites and engage with experts in the field of environment and social justice. Having spent two weeks in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, they are now making their way to Vancouver and Victoria for the month of June.

Students are building skills, developing strategies, and making plans for projects to bring back to their communities. Their projects span from tackling urban sprawl and working with youth at risk, to writing a novel, protecting habitat, and starting their own innovative education programs. Look for the students’ blog Also visit