Upcoming Events & Recent Activities
Suzuki Elder council meetings are held at the David Suzuki Foundation every third Thursday of the month.
Education and Community Engagement meetings are typically held monthly on the third Tuesday.
Our annual AGM is held in March/April, and a retreat is held during the summer months.
Public workshops, lectures, and forums are also organized.
David Cook’s Reconnecting with Nature Programme for 2017:
This programme has been designed for members of the general public who are interested in improving their understanding and connection with the natural environment. I have been conducting this programme since 2001. All the events listed are either given by me (DLC) or organized by me. This list should be considered as preliminary and there may be changes or additions as the year progresses. Further details such as meeting places and times can be obtained by contacting David Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-924-0147. Those additional details will also be included in monthly emails to anyone on my email list. Suzuki Elders members and the general public are welcome.
Thursday April 20th 2017
Title: Among Kangaroo Paws and Grass Trees: The Incredible Spring Flora of Western Australia.A free public talk and native plant sale for the Botany Section of Nature Vancouver.
Speaker: Gary Lewis.
Meeting time & location: 7:30 pm. Unitarian Centre, 949 West 49th Avenue (at Oak Street), Vancouver.
Description of talk: Join Gary for a trip Down Under to explore an out of this world flora you have likely never even dreamed of – a world of banksias and feather flowers, donkey orchids and spider orchids, eucalypts and myrtles and, of course, kangaroo paws and grass trees. In this talk you’ll see wonderful photography from his trip as well as learn about why this area of the world is considered a biodiversity “hot spot.” Gary will have native plants for sale during the evening.
About the speaker: Gary Lewis began botanizing his local fields and forests around the age of four (first in Germany, then in Nova Scotia and Ontario), began collecting houseplants at the age of 10 and began gardening at the age of 15. He holds a MSc in Plant Ecology from UBC, training which, with its focus on the botany and ecology of wild plants, greatly informs his horticulture. Gary became the owner of Phoenix Perennials in 2004 on his 28th birthday. Since that time he has greatly expanded the nursery to include one of the largest and most exciting selections of perennials in Canada with over 4000 different plants each year. He strives to include cutting edge new perennials, tried and true garden stalwarts, and the rare and unusual in his plant offerings. In 2013 Phoenix Perennials launched mail order across Canada to bring their unique selection of plants to a broader audience. Gary is the Canada Region Director for the Perennial Plant Association, the North America-wide industry association that brings gardeners the Perennial Plant of the Year. He is on the Advisory Committee for E-Flora BC, an online atlas of BC native plants. He also serves on the Perennial and Bulb Selection Committee of Great Plant Picks, an educational awards program of the Miller Botanical Garden that works to build a comprehensive palette of outstanding plants for BC and Pacific Northwest gardens. In 2014 Gary was selected as one of Canada’s “Top 10 Horticultural Professionals Under 40” by Greenhouse Canada magazine. Phoenix Perennials was selected for the 2015 “Revolutionary 100” honouring the 100 best cutting edge garden centres in North America. In 2013 Gary was selected as Communicator of the Year by the BC Landscape and Nursery Association, an award for which he was nominated in 2012. In both 2012 and 2013 Phoenix Perennials won the category of “Growing Gardeners”, part of the Canadian Garden Centre of the Year Awards. These awards recognize Gary’s work to educate and inspire the gardening public through speaking engagements, nursery workshops, special events and diverse online content including e-newsletters and alerts, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.
Sunday April 23rd 2017.
Can native and introduced plants live in harmony?
A free interpretive nature walk for Wild Bird Trust
Walk leader: David Cook and Kevin Bell.
Meeting time and location: 1:30 at Wild Bird Trusts Conservation Area office, 2645 Dollarton Highway, North Vancouver 603-903-4471. Rain or shine.
Duration of walk: Two hours.
Description of walk: Walk the trails of the Conservation Area at Maplewood Flats and learn how to identify the native and introduced plant species that grow in this rehabilitated area as well as interesting facts about their biology and ecology.
Saturday, May 6th 2017 (Registration required)
Powerground: Talking about Nature and the Land
A talk and walk for the District of North Vancouver Library, Parkgate Branch.
Talk by Trevor Carolan
Walk by David Cook
Meeting time, duration & location: 10:00am—2:00pm. Parkgate Library 3675 Banff Crt. The Parkgate Library is located in the Parkgate Shopping Centre at the corner of Mount Seymour Parkway and Seymour Road. Access is gained via Seymour Road which is the access road to Seymour Provincial Park.
Registration: Online or by calling 604-929-3727, ext. 8166
Description of the event: We will start the day with coffee, tea & snacks. A light lunch will also be provided.
We will show the film Powerground, by local writer & filmmaker Trevor Carolan, followed by a walk in the forest, guided by biologist David Cook.
Filmmaker Trevor Carolan will introduce the film, and following the screening, we will discuss some of the topics and issues raised in the film: climate change, global warming and deforestation. With so many conflicting messages, has the millennial generation already heard enough about the environmental crisis? Many are confused and wonder if it has simply gotten too complicated to win back the Earth. This documentary film faces up to the sea of chatter.
The day will finish with a guided walk with biologist David Cook to nearby Roche Point Forest, part of the historic Roche Point Creek watershed which is one of only two remaining low-elevation old-growth areas on the North Shore.
Full details about this event are available on the Events Calendar at www.nvdpl.ca/event/powerground-talking-about-nature-and-land.
Tuesday May 9th 2017
Secrets of a Temperate Coniferous Forest.
An interpretive walk for Salmonberry Days of the Dunbar Residents Association.
Trip leader: David Cook, Biologist
Meeting time and duration: 10:00 am; Approximately 3 hours
Meeting place: Trailhead at Spanish Banks Beach, NW Marine Drive. See Pacific Spirit Regional Park map at: www.metrovancouver.org/about/Maps/Pacificspiritmap.pdf
The Spanish Banks Trail is trail No. 23 on the map.
Description of event: On this beautiful forest walk we will see how the components of a typical second-growth forest of both native and non-native plants work together to produce a functional but ever-changing whole. We will also look at the work done in enhancing Spanish Creek for salmon.
A free public event. Registration not required
Most Recent Suzuki Elders Newsletters, August 2016, February 2016
On April 22, many Suzuki Elders celebrated Earth Day in Vancouver by attending the parade and festival starting at Commercial Drive and Broadway at 1 pm. Nineteen Canadian cities joined 600 worldwide for a March for Science to advocate for scientific evidence in decision making. “Democracy starved of truth is democracy denied.”
The Suzuki Elders held their sixth Annual General Meeting on April 20, 2017 at the David Suzuki Foundation offices in Vancouver. Highlights of the meeting included a talk by Jay Ritchlin, DSF Director General for Western Canada, whose extensive knowledge of our salmon fisheries let us appreciate the complexities around concerns with fish farms. Diana Ellis, stepped down as Chair of the Suzuki Elder Council and was presented with a very special gift by David Suzuki, a print he created from a fish. Conrad Guelke (upper left), retiring from council after serving as Past Chair, received warm words of congratulation and appreciation from David Suzuki and a letter of appreciation from CEO Peter Robinson for his 19 years as a volunteer with the Suzuki Elders.
On January 21st, 2017, 15,000 joined the Vancouver march in support of the Women’s March on Washington. More than 2 million men and women joined over 600 marches worldwide.
On December 15th, members of the Suzuki Elders council and working
groups held a “fabulous” potluck lunch at Neale and Roz’s home in Vancouver.
On November 19th, Suzuki Elders joined thousands who gathered outside Vancouver City Hall to protest the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion. Vigils and rallies will continue after news of Federal approval.
Also on November 19th, Suzuki elders attended the documentary screening and panel discussion of the film “Elder in the Making” hosted by the DSF Sustainability Network at the Musqueam Cultural Centre. Film makers Chris Hsiung and Cowboy Smithx were on hand. “An elder isn’t defined by age, but by an openness to learning, to history.”
On October 2nd, Suzuki Elders Cynthia and Karl presented talks to the Fraser Cultural Forum for the Mandarin-speaking Chinese community. YouTube videos are available for Cynthia’s presentation that includes videos on the damage to our planet caused by microplastics and for Karl’s presentation that includes a comparison of a “happiness index” with carbon footprint for different nations, translated for the audience by Cynthia.
This August, lower mainland British Columbians, including Suzuki Elders, had a chance to attend and address the federal panel on the Kinder Morgan bitumen pipeline expansion before the panel presents its final report to the federal government in November. So far, almost 90 per cent of those attending and speaking to the panel opposed the project. Rob and Cynthia hold what is worth fighting for.
The annual Suzuki Elder Retreat was held on August 4th at the peaceful Rivdendell Retreat Centre on Bowen Island. Our work for the day was informed by Jim Hoggan’s book, “I’m Right and You’re an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean it Up”. The morning was spent in a role playing exercise using several scenarios where one person of a triad presented their position in a biased manner, a second person responded using techniques/stances from the book, and the third person was a neutral observer who reported on what he/she had observed during the dialogue. In the afternoon, a World Café exercise divided us into 4 groups that discussed desirable and doable ways of contributing to public discourse so that it becomes less toxic.
On Saturday, May 14th, a sold-out salon at the Vancouver YWCA was hosted by the Suzuki Elders on Building Resilience to Climate Disruption. The goal was to work on building our strength and capacity to face the enormous challenges of the world today. The salon, inspired by the work of eco-philosopher, Joanna Macy, used practices that strengthen our ability to respond, deepen our aliveness, and engage our passion and power to act for life on Earth.
On April 21st, more than 25 Suzuki Elders met at the David Suzuki Foundation to attend our Annual General Meeting. Finance, communication, education, advocacy and membership reports were presented, and a slate of candidates for Council was adopted. Nadege Vince, who manages on-line communications for DSF, gave us an overview of various social media platforms and ways to improve visibility and grow a community.
Also on April 18th, Suzuki Elders Jim Park and Diana Ellis attended the Vancouver Youth Sustainability Conference and facilitated two workshops on Love, Nature and Climate Change. Diana reports, “Bright students, open and thoughtful about nature and its impact. We always learn so much from them.”
On April 18th, Stan Hearst led the Suzuki Elders in two teaching sessions at the North Shore’s ElderCollege on Food Security in the 21st Century: Are we Prepared? Questions addressed were: Why should we be concerned about food security? What is the evidence that our food supply system is at risk? What can be done about this and who should be doing what? What are the linkages between food security and refugees, climate change, land and seed usurpation and other factors? How can the average citizen influence decisions made on food security?
On February 24th, the Suzuki Elders took a step towards a better understanding of food security in B.C. and especially the lower mainland by hosting a salon on Food Security in the 21st Century: Are We Prepared? To learn more, read Stan Hirst’s insightful post that reports on this salon.
On February 14, hardy Suzuki Elders like Cynthia Lam joined with the DSF to march in the rain to celebrate the Chinese New Year in downtown Vancouver. Cynthia tells us that the David Suzuki Foundation parade team was not big but was enthusiastic and diverse, and included the Suzuki elders, the Raging grannies, and the Blue Dots from the cities of Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Delta and Surrey.
On January 20 at the VanDusen Botanical Garden, the Suzuki Elders hosted a workshop to discuss COP21: What was and wasn’t achieved, and what are the implications for our future? Participants were Steve Kux, who attended for the David Suzuki Foundation, Diana Ellis, who worked with a group of Grandparents for Climate Change, and Kate Hodgson, who attended as a youth delegate.
On Nov. 29, 2015, Suzuki Elders participated in local and distant climate change rallies held around the world in preparation for the start of COP21 in Paris on November 30. According to 350.org, over 785,000 people in 175 countries marched on Nov 29th in climate action events, making it one of the largest climate mobilizations ever in history. Above, many hundreds met in front of the Art Gallery in Vancouver and the Legislature in Victoria. Colourful flames held in Victoria were meant to ignite change and light our path to a fossil fuel-free future. Rob and Lillian sang at the rally in front of the Legislature in Edmonton.
On Nov. 28th, National Geographic France published an article entitled “Grandparents, New Players in the Fight Against Climate Change” in association with coverage on COP21. It contains prominent mention and a group photograph of the Suzuki Elders.
On Nov. 10, 2015, the David Suzuki Foundation held a Sustainable Diversity Workshop at Sun Yat Sen Garden attended by Suzuki Elder Cynthia Lam and our youth colleagues, Aaron and Tessica from our intergenerational story project. Topics ranged from food choice and waste to use of media and integration rather than assimilation of newcomers to Canada.
As Federal Election Day on October 19 approached, many Suzuki Elders signed the “pledge to vote” and others, like Cynthia Lam on the right, were busy collecting signed pledges around her neighbourhood. Cynthia was working in support of Kids for Climate Action who hoped to elect candidates with the best chance of implementing effective, science-based climate policies.
On October 1, Suzuki Elders attended an event recognizing National Seniors Day at the downtown branch of the Vancouver Public Library. The event was developed and presented in collaboration with the City of Vancouver Seniors Advisory Committee. Many visited the library to discover a variety of resources for seniors and attend events (including our display) throughout the day.
The Metro Vancouver Youth Sustainability Network met with Suzuki Elders on September 27th. Twenty keen participants attended this planning summit with Suzuki Elders Diana Ellis, Jim Park, and Cynthia Lam who acted as facilitators. The key youth organizer was Jay Matsushiba. This sharing session, called “What Moves Me” had the group talking about their hopes and fears for sustainability and our environment; what moves us forward, and what holds us back.
On July 25, 2015, Catching the Spirit Youth Society and the Suzuki Elders held the Ubuntu Day discussion on the theme, “What Moves Me?”. Ubuntu is the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity. “I am because of who we all are.” Sixty youth participants, mostly 14-17 years old, attended. Diana Ellis and Sadie DeCoste acted as facilitators. Participants and youth leaders Santiago Alaya Perez (left), Sadie DeCoste (middle) and Cathy Ye (right) are shown above. You can read more about this event here.
On June 2, 2015, the Education and Community Engagement Working Group hosted a salon on Genetically Modified Foods held at the Creekside Community Centre in Vancouver. Dr. David Ng from UBC talked about “Scientific literacy and its role in the GMO discussion” and Dr. David Steele, UBC and President of Earthsave Canada, discussed “How big business poisons GMOs”. Thanks go to Roz Kellett for organizing and Neale Adams for facilitating.
On June 6, 2015, Diana Ellis, Erlene Woollard and Jim Park attended ecoFEST at New Westminster Quay with the Suzuki Elder display and revised handouts. EcoFEST, a youth initiative now in it’s third year, aims to engage youth in environmental volunteer opportunities that will create a truly sustainable Future. The Eco Fest event organizer was young Annaliese Meyer – a participant at our Elder retreat with youth last summer.
On April 27, 2015, three Suzuki Elders attended the Vancouver School Board Sustainability Conference designed and run by Vancouver high school students interested and involved in environmental work at their schools. Kudos to Rosemary Chen who has taken the Suzuki Elder Story Project, turned it into an Intergenerational Story Project, and led two workshops on that topic during the day. As reported by Diana Ellis, “Great dialogue between the total of 34 participants who attended the workshops – talking about our hopes/fears re the environment, and telling our personal stories of involvement. Youth Rock!”
On April 16, 2015, the Suzuki Elders held their annual general meeting featuring Jim Hoggan, Board Chair of the David Suzuki Foundation and author of Climate Cover-up, as Guest Speaker. His topic and subject of his upcoming book, Speak the truth, but not to punish: Lessons in Public Discourse, enlightened us on the importance of a better narrative to counter indifference. Working groups presented their reports, and a slate of candidates for Council was nominated and appointed. After many years of service to DSF and our organization, Archana Datta stepped down from Council.
On Feb 18, 2015, the Suzuki Elders held a free event in the Cedar Room at the beautiful VanDusen Botanical Gardens. Peter Robinson, CEO of DSF, gave an informative talk on The Future of Environmentalism, to a group of 60 registrants, and Suzuki Elder Bob Worcester acted as moderator.
On November 9, 2014, Suzuki Elders gathered with hundreds of others to celebrate David Suzuki’s final stop on his cross-Canada Blue Dot Tour. Over 60,000 people have now signed on help enshrine the rights of Canadians to a healthy environment. This tour, featuring world-class entertainers at each stop, is just the start of this initiative!
On October 14, 2014, Richmond city council unanimously adopted a declaration in support of the Right to a Healthy Environment, ensuring that access to fresh air, clean water and healthy food guides the community’s direction. Suzuki Elder Cynthia Lam was in the thick of things.
On July 23, 2014, a successful day-long Suzuki Elder Retreat was held at Rivendell, Bowen Island. The goals were to facilitate intergenerational dialogue and identify meaningful ways Suzuki Elders and youth might work together on the environmental challenges we face. Seven high-school aged youth attending the retreat told us how and why they developed their interests in the environment and how they saw our future developing. Mixed discussion groups questioned how Suzuki Elders and youth might work together. Ideas included developing a council of Suzuki Youth, facilitating an intergenerational mentoring program, hosting forums or discussions around shared values, and simply supporting each other’s initiatives.
More information on the activities of our Working Groups can be found here.