Speaker Series

The 2015-2016 Raincoast Speaker Series (Sept 2015 - May 2016) is designed to provide public education opportunities that highlight important projects and ideas through a series of monthly lectures by some of the top environmental researchers and educators in the region. The goal of the speaker series is to provide high-quality, inspirational events that create awareness around key environmental issues in our region. Lectures will focus on topics ranging from marine and terrestrial ecology, to environmental stewardship and sustainabilty.

The 2015-2016 Raincoast Speaker Series is supported by Remote Passages, Long Beach Lodge, Jamie's Whaling Station, Tofino Botanical Gardens, Ocean Outfitters, and Sea Wench Naturals.

Please check back for updates to the 2015-2016 speaker series.

Know Before You Go—Making Better Decisions in Avalanche Terrain
Colin Zacharias

DATE: Thursday, Nov 26 @ 7:30pm
WHERE: Ecolodge Classroom at the Tofino Botanical Gardens
COST: $5

Deadly avalanches are rarely a "bolt out of the blue". Statistics reveal that 90% of fatal avalanches are started by the people involved! During this talk we review the latest avalanche awareness initiatives in the province dedicated to reducing interactions between people and avalanches. Whether you are a sledder, snowboarder, skier or backcountry snowshoer come ready to ask questions about what to expect with the upcoming El Nino winter and how to prepare yourself to best managing the backcountry avalanche risk.

Colin Zacharias is a certified international mountain and ski guide (IFMGA) with three decades of experience in the avalanche industry. Likely many winter professionals Colin started with a ski area avalanche control operation, moved on to become the avalanche forecaster for the 1988 Winter Olympics, then spent a decade as a heliski guide. More recently he works as a operational mountain safety consultant for ski areas, highways, public forecasting agencies, and heli and cat ski guiding operations. Colin is a senior instructor with the Canadian Avalanche Association pro training courses.  From his home in Tofino, BC he has been the technical advisor for the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) since 2004 and is a professional member of the ACMG, the Canadian Avalanche Association, and the American Avalanche Association.  Colin serves as a board member for the Raincoast Education Society.

The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan
Briony Penn

DATE: Wednesday, October 28 @ 7:30pm
WHERE: Ecolodge Classroom at the Tofino Botanical Gardens
COST: $5


The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan is the official biography of early biologist/conservationist McTaggart Cowan, who was documenting biodiversity, climate change, logging, pesticides, and conservation issues before most of us were born.  Briony will be coming to Tofino with specimens, some clips from his early TV shows that were the forerunner to Suzuki's (who he first hired) The Nature of Things and the "fascinating" stories from his wildlife journals that span the entire province from Cleland Island to the Kootenays, species from Alces to Zapus and the full century that he lived through. His early days in Tofino in 1930 collecting with Kenneth Racey for the National Museum of Canada will be part of the evening's presentation.

Briony Penn is a naturalist, broadcaster, educator, and writer well known across Canada. As a journalist, columnist and author, Briony has a publishing record of hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines as well as books, government publications and peer-reviewed journals. She is also an artist and has exhibited and published widely on natural history themes. Briony is a pioneer of community mapping and has created numerous artistic community maps that have been replicated across North America and Europe.


Animal Tracking 101 - The Hidden Lives of Animals
David Moskowitz

DATE: Thursday, Sept 10 @ 7:30 pm
WHERE: Ecolodge Classroom at the Tofino Botanical Gardens
COST: $5

Join David Moskowitz, expert wildlife tracker and author of Wolves in the Land of Salmon and Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest, for an evening of amazing photographs and stories exploring the hidden lives of our region’s wildlife. From the tiniest shrews to bears and cougars, the signs of wild animals are around us year-round, waiting to be discovered by the observant outdoor adventurist. David will share tips on how to find wild animals and interpret the signs they leave behind on this coastal landscape including tracks, feeding sign and scent marking.

David Moskowitz is a certified Track and Sign Specialist through Cybertracker Conservation International, the international standard for wildlife tracking certification, for which he is also an evaluator. David works as a biologist, photographer, and educator across North America and beyond.