Invasive Species Council of British Columbia

ISCBC Provincial Youth Summit: “Stewarding Connections With the Land”

Date: January 28, 2023

Time: 1:00 - 5:00 pm PT

Photo Credit: ISCBC

By Lisa Houle | December 14, 2022

The Invasive Species Council of BC is pleased to host the online 2023 Provincial Youth Summit: “Stewarding Connections With the Land” – taking place virtually on January 28, 2023 from 1:00-5:00 pm PT.

Do you have the desire to protect and preserve our land’s natural resources? Do you believe that connecting with the land we live on and the diverse people in our community is integral to maintaining a healthy, thriving ecosystem?

We do too.

Join us to gather with individuals from across the province and renew your inspiration to steward connections with the land!

Our keynote speaker for this event is Asalah Youssef, who presents ‘Sowing your seed of stewardship,’ exploring the ways in which creativity, joy, and authenticity can guide environmental stewardship. Asalah is pursuring a Bachelors of Environment and Sustainability and is a member of the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada’s Youth Advisory Council.

Asalah joins a diverse and engaging lineup of presenters including:

  • ISCBC Volunteer Presenter – Joshua Ralph
  • ISCBC Volunteer Presenter – Emma Nikkel
  • Workshop Presenter – Dr T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss 

“Environmental stewardship for me, in its simplest form, is the act of treading more lightly on Earth. It’s being conscious of actions embedded within the everyday and how they ripple out; remembering the non-separateness between human and environmental well-being; going slow; being in community; connecting with Earth; and always asking ‘how can I care for Earth and my community in a way that sparks joy and is sustainable?’” said Asalah, who sees environmental stewardship as protecting, healing and advocating for all life on this planet.

“We are a part of the natural world, so inevitably when we care for Earth, we are caring for ourselves, and vice-versa. It is a belief in hope that empowers and grounds communities to protect and advocate for ecosystems and biodiversity; that the natural world can still thrive and heal.” 

The seed of stewardship comes naturally to Asalah, as it was sown and nurtured simply from being outside – walking barefoot in the soil, hiking through biodiverse forests, and photographing the mountains. She co-led her high school’s Green Team, volunteered on lands close to home, joined youth-led climate organizations, and participated in/facilitated climate action events. She also tended to her school’s local community garden.

“We care for what we love; so naturally the joy I felt outside was coupled with a yearning to protect her,” said Asalah. “Whenever I’m seeking inspiration (which is often), I find myself leaning on trees for knowledge, gathering with other like-minded folks to share thoughts, feelings and ideas on stewardship, reading stories of hope, and of course, practicing self and community care!”

Joshua Ralph has been volunteering with ISCBC since 2020 and has completed over 500 volunteer hours. Based out of Vancouver, BC, Joshua is an animator by trade, and an eco-artist at heart. He recently presented a series of workshops transforming invasive plants into useable art supplies.

Joshua is part of the Invasive Art-Supply Initiative, sharing these accessible drawing materials with others. Intertwining art and ecology, Joshua aims to foster co-creation and education in local green spaces. 

You are in for a treat – learn how to make your own pencils, ink, and paper during this presentation, using pulled plant material! 

Emma Nikkel has been volunteering with ISCBC since 2021 and has completed over 150 volunteer hours. She has a BSc in Environmental Studies and a MSc in Geography from UBC, Emma is passionate about the environment and sustainability – and is a big fan of plants! For the past two years she has been developing habitat suitability models, assessing the potential effects of climate change on the spread of invasive plants in BC and determining which of these species are likely to become more common.

Emma has modelled two terrestrial species (Shiny geranium and Mouse-ear hawkweed), and two aquatic species (Flowering rush and Water hyacinth), for their current and future habitat suitability. These invasive plants are relatively new to – and spreading in – the Pacific Northwest.

During this engaging presentation, Emily will share the results of her findings with you!

Dr T’uy’t’tanat- Cease Wyss is an interdisciplinary artist who works with digital media, writing, performance, and land based remediations. She is a community engaged public artist and ethnobotanist who was awarded an honorary PhD in 2022 from Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Over the past 30 years her work has focused on sustainability, permaculture techniques, and Coast Salish Cultural elements, and has included themes of ethnobotany, Indigenous language revival, Salish weaving and digital media technology.

Cease will be sharing Indigenous stories about land and water.

Katelyn Bissat, ISCBC Manager of Volunteer Engagement and organizer of the event, is excited to bring the vast talents and knowledge of these presenters to the ISCBC stage.

“We have a great line up for this Summit. It’s such a dynamic group with multi-vision of what being a steward of the land means. Connecting and learning from each other in how to protect and preserve our land’s natural resources really is in the spirit of being stewards of the land. There’s so much to share, we hope you join us!” said Katelyn.

Registration for this workshop is now open. Register here to claim your spot before the January 27th deadline. This event is free to attend, and all are welcome to join us!

Healthy Habitat Youth Heroes is funded by Canada Service Corps, a national movement that empowers youth aged 15–30 to gain experience and build important skills while giving back to their community.

Lisa is a Communications and Outreach Coordinator at ISCBC. She values a diverse environment and connecting with others about environmental protection. In her spare time Lisa enjoys spending time at the ocean and beach combing for sea glass. You can reach Lisa at