Welcome Nikki Sanchez, the reigning Queen of Green during Lindsay Coulter's one-year maternity leave! Here's Lindsay's interview with Nikki, so you can get to know her:
Where's your favourite place in nature?
What comes to mind is the ancient Ahousaht Wild Side heritage trail on Flores Island, off the west coast of Vancouver Island. It covers 22 kilometres of old-growth temperate rainforest and white sand beaches. I was privileged to learn about the many sacred and food harvesting sites along the trail from Elder Stanley Sam. Stanley passed away last summer and now every time I return to the trail I feel his joyful spirit dwelling there. It was a place he loved dearly. I'm so grateful to him for sharing that love of place with me.
What's the best "green living" advice you ever received?
My mentor, Qaamina Sam, taught me about the Nuu-chah-nulth worldview encompassed in the saying "hishuk'ish tsawalk" meaning "everything is one and all is interconnected." I carry that concept into everything I do. I exist in relationship to all other things and must consider the ways in which my thoughts, words and actions affect others and the landscape.
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Do you have a favourite DIY recipe?
Working and living in the coastal temperate rainforest means using wild plants. Try a face mask using the strands of fresh bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) and the inner "goo" of bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus). It also makes a great swamp monster costume!
How did you celebrate Earth Day 2017?
I completed the cross-country running leg of the Snow to Surf multicourse wilderness race on Mount Washington, Vancouver Island. I was on a team with eight friends to ski, snowshoe, mountain bike, canoe and kayak.
What most excites you about serving the Queen of Green audience?
I believe building strong communities of people who share a common love for Earth and want to create a sustainable future is one of the most important endeavors of our time. I feel incredibly privileged and look forward to learning from and with you.
Can you share a wildlife encounter story?
While sea kayak guiding I arrived early in a remote location to set up the boats. I desperately needed to pee, walked into the forest and the moment I found a suitable spot, heard footsteps. It was a large female wolf! We stared at each other, then she started to walk towards me slowly. I encouraged her not to get too close. She sauntered down the beach, and to my delight, turned around every few steps and looked back at me.
Name three things on your bucket list:
- Dance underneath the aurora borealis
- Swim with belugas
- Sing in public
What are you reading?
All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki, a novel exploring the moral and environmental impacts of bioengineering. I've also started Purity by Jonathan Franzen. He does an incredible job of illuminating the complexity of human experience and the ways in which we are all interconnected.
When you're not the Queen of Green, what will you be doing?
I'm a PhD student in environmental studies and Indigenous governance at the University of Victoria. I spend a lot of time in the library. I'm also a wilderness educator, community organizer and closet poet. On sunny days you'll find me running trails, climbing mountains or kayaking with my dogs Witwalk and Diego.
Thank you for welcoming Nikki. Have a great year!
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green