Northern Development approves $250,000 for Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society expansion project

September 4, 2013

Northern Development Initiative Trust’s board of directors have approved a $250,000 grant to support an expansion of the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society’s (HGHES) programs.

HGHES is an Enterprising Non-profit organization committed to delivering community-based natural resources programs to university students. Its goal is to provide world-class university-level educational opportunities inspired by the people, communities and environments of Haida Gwaii.

[quote by=”Carol Kulesha” position=”Mayor” company=”Village of Queen Charlotte”]“The existing Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society semesters program is a key economic driver for the Village of Queen Charlotte and Haida Gwaii.[/quote]

“The Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society has created world-class programming and learning opportunities for university students, which has also diversified the local economy on Haida Gwaii and supported businesses,” said Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “We are proud to support an expansion project for this unique and valuable organization.”

The funding was approved under the Trust’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure program, which provides funding to municipalities, regional districts, First Nations and non-profit organizations in Northern Development’s service area for projects that significantly strengthen the local economy via a major capital investment. This capital investment will be used to fund two new revenue-generating programs, expansion of staff capacity, professional development and the development of a pilot summer semester to be launched in 2015.

“This funding allows this worthwhile program expand its courses and the program’s economic reach to produce increased value for our region.” HGHES’ ‘Haida Gwaii Semesters’ are intensive field study resource management programs designed for undergraduate students.

The program immerses students in the day-to-day life, culture and issues that affect Haida Gwaii and its people.

HGHES estimates that it currently injects up to $400,000 annually into Haida Gwaii communities, a figure that they expect will increase to between $800,000 and $1 million in the next five years. Much of this revenue flows directly back into local businesses, organizations and community members. HGHES programs receive tremendous support, guidance and participation from the Haida people by utilizing the forests and resources to provide a holistic approach to resource use and management education.

The society aims to be at the cutting-edge of education and a leader in experiential education. In 2012, HGHES received $4,285 through Northern Development’s Marketing Initiatives Program for the Haida Gwaii Semester marketing campaign. “We are extremely grateful to Northern Development for supporting an expansion of our program offerings and capacity,” said Laurel Currie, Executive Director, Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society. “We have already created a name for ourselves offering cutting-edge experiential learning programs that foster a greater understanding of responsible resource management, and this funding will help us take our programs to the next level.”