Katie's Redfish School of Change experience

student sitting on rocky shore writing in journal

Katie doing a journal entry on Patos Island, US.

In the summer between second and third year, KI student Katie participated in the Redfish School of Change, supported in part by the KI donor-funded Knowledge Integration Experience Award.

Other KI students have also attended this program, and one of our alumni has taught an interdisciplinary course in philosophy and ecology at Redfish.

Here's how Katie describes her experience:

The Redfish School of Change is a three week experiential learning program focused on leadership and Indigenous resurgence in the Salish Sea Region.

The Salish Sea is a bioregion found on the west coast of Canada and the north west coast of the US. The program involves travelling to several different islands over the course of the three weeks, interacting with community members and various partner organizations on each island. In these collaborations I spent time volunteering with each organization to better understand the work they are doing and to help them with their mission. This service work also provided learning opportunities and connections to the leadership and Indigenous resurgence material we discussed within our classes. I also had the a couple opportunities to lead the group to practice my leadership skills.  Before the program began I had some prep work to complete for the two courses in order to maximize my learning within the Salish Sea environment. Then after Redfish ended each class had a final assignment.

For the duration of the three weeks I was immersed in the Salish Sea environment sleeping, cooking, working and studying outdoors. Within a day I would eat three meals (often cooking some of them), participate in a check-in, have class time, work with the organizations and have personal ecology (free time). However, each day on Redfish is unique and provides new challenges. Some days there are special lectures, community potluck dinners or even kayak and canoe trips.

Redfish also provided the opportunity to live and create friendships with the twenty other students participating in the program. Through Redfish I had the unique opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, learn within the environment I was studying, collaborate with a diverse range of people and learn something about myself.

Hearing the need for people to bridge between groups really solidified the importance of the collaboration and communication skills I am learning in Knowledge Integration.

Read about other KI students' summer experiences: Summer off? No -- summer on!