Senior Guardian Watchman Gina Thomas of the Tlowitsis Nation will be one of three speakers at the first Art+Earth Festival Lecture, scheduled for Sept. 19 from 7-9 p.m. at the Tidemark Theatre. Photo by Serena Renner

Senior Guardian Watchman Gina Thomas of the Tlowitsis Nation will be one of three speakers at the first Art+Earth Festival Lecture, scheduled for Sept. 19 from 7-9 p.m. at the Tidemark Theatre. Photo by Serena Renner

First Art+Earth Lecture in Campbell River to look at old-growth forest solutions

It’s time to stop yelling at each other and start listening.

That’s the message behind the first ever Art+Earth Festival Lecture, being held Sept. 19 at the Tidemark Theatre, entitled Falling Boundaries: New Perspectives on Old Growth Forests.

With strong local historic ties to the forestry industry that continue today, the contentious subject of logging old-growth trees has lately been top-of-mind for many in our region. This night is a chance to hear from three presenters who take unique views of the current management of old growth trees on Vancouver Island and surrounding areas, offering some potential solutions to some of the competing interests involved.

“It’s not a pro-logging or anti-logging discussion,” says Ken Blackburn, executive director of the Campbell River Arts Council, which is organizing the event as part of this year’s Art+Earth Festival. “It’s not about who is right and who is wrong. In fact, that’s the mentality that has brought us to the point where our society has become polarized and everyone is just screaming at each other instead of working together to find solutions by listening to each other.”

If we’re going to be successful in managing our natural resources, Blackburn says, we need to start listening to the multiple prespectives of those who have a stake in them.

So the event Sept. 19 will bring toegther three voices: an artist, a biologist and a coastal First Nations member with years of research and various degrees and diplomas in forest resource management.

Gina Thomas is a band member of the Tlowitsis Nation and the Senior Guardian Watchman, a Coastal First Nations organization that ensures sustainability in resource management, regulation enforcement and effective implementation of land and marine use agreements. Her background includes years working in forest research, silviculture, and delving into forest engineering. Gina has a degree in Forest Resource Management from the University of British Columbia, a diploma in Natural Resource Technology from Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and a stewardship technician certificate from Vancouver Island University.

Julie Nielsen is a registered professional biologist specializing in forest ecology with a background in watershed management, forestry, conservation biology, and tree physiology. She is currently completing her PhD at Simon Fraser University, researching aspects of natural science and social science using western red cedar (thuja plicata or ‘wilkw’ in the Kwak’wala language) as a common subject of interest across the disciplines of policy and law, anthropology, and ecology.

David Ellingsen is a Canadian photographer originally from Cortes Island creating images that speak to the relationship between humans and the natural world. He works predominantly in long-term, cumulative projects with a focus on climate, biodiversity and deforestation, and he will not only speak that night, but also show some of the work from his current photographic project, which weaves togeher threads of resource extraction and the reverberating effects of colonialism within the deepening environmental crisis.

Tickets are on sale now at for just $17 (plus applicable fees and taxes) for either in-person attendance or live-streamed performance.

This year’s Art+Earth Festival – which has been running since the spring – comes to a close at the end of this month, and it’s closing with a flurry of activity.

On Sept. 11 and 12, the Sybil Andrews property in Willow Point will feature the community’s plein aire painters on-site from noon-3 p.m. each day. On Sept. 18, the current Artist-in-Residence at the Walter Morgan Studio will be holding an open house to show off the work he’s been doing over the past few months from 7-9 p.m. Falling Boundaries: New Perspectives on Old Growth Forests rounds out that weekend before the festival continues the following week with two events on the Haig-Brown property on Sept. 25: “Making Lanterns with Found and Recycled Materials” and part two of “Exploring Native Plants Through Medicine and the Arts” with artist Clive Powsey.

The festival wraps up Sept. 26 – World Rivers Day – with events at the annual Fall Festival at Haig-Brown House, followed by the annual Haig-Brown Lecture that night at the Tidemark Theatre.

Watch for more on these events by following the festival’s Facebook and Instagram pages (@crartandearthfestival), as well as visiting

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