About Us

The Clam Garden Network is a diverse community of First Nations, academics, researchers, and resource managers from coastal British Columbia, Washington State and Alaska who are interested in the cultural and ecological importance clam gardens and traditional clam management. We share ideas, research approaches, tools and data to better inform our knowledge about how people used intertidal resources and ecosystems. We see clam gardens as a compelling focal point for a series of linked current social issues, such as food security, First Nations governance and inter-generational knowledge sharing. We feel that we will deepen knowledge through collaborations that cross communities and disciplines.

We are grateful to the many funders and partners who make this interdisciplinary and cross-cultural effort possible, including: Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Hakai Institute, Heiltsuk Tribal Council, National Science Foundation, Northwest Indian College, NSERC, Parks Canada, Royal Roads University, Simon Fraser University, SSHRC, University of Guelph, University of Victora, and the Wenner Gren Foundation.

Website content: Nicole F. Smith, Dana Lepofsky and the Clam Garden Network.

Skye Augustine (Hwsyun’yun)

Skye is a descendant of the Stz’uminus Nation and is a doctoral candidate with the Coastal Marine Ecology & Conservation Lab at Simon Fraser University. Skye first fell in love with clam gardens in 2009, when she began working with them as a summer student. Recently, she led a 6-year clam garden restoration project in the Southern Gulf Islands – a collaboration between Coast Salish Nations and Parks Canada. This landscape-scale restoration experiment examines the impacts of revitalized clam garden practices on intertidal ecosystems and linked human communities by drawing on Indigenous knowledge and marine ecology. Skye continues to advise on this effort as a member of Hul’q’umi’num Seafood Working Group. Outside of work and her studies, Skye can be found adventuring in nature, dancing with friends, and being a pet parent to her sweet dog Willow.

Morgan Black

Morgan is a graduate student in the Biology Department at UVIC.  She has a very broad range of interests from bats to benthos, but the coastal marine environment is her passion.  She loves sailing, scuba diving, and natural history.  One of her all-time favorite past times is wandering the beaches at low tide.  Biodiversity and community ecology are some of her research interests, and clam garden ecology combines nearly all of her favorite things!  With the support and collaboration of the Ecological Interactions Research Program (VIU), the Juanes lab (UVIC), the Hakai Institute, and the Clam Garden Network, she is studying the fish and mobile invertebrate communities found on clam gardens in several sites on the BC coast. www.seagoing.ca  Twitter: @sea_goin

Nathan Cardinal

Nathan works for Parks Canada as the Manager of Resource Conservation at the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (GINPR), based in Sidney B.C. In his role with Parks Canada, Nathan works to manage a variety of programs that include ecological integrity, cultural resource management, and restoration. Nathan has been involved in developing Parks Canada’s clam garden restoration project – a five-year, collaborative study involving Coastal First Nations and various partners to examine the impact of clam gardens on intertidal ecosystems, combining traditional knowledge and scientific study. Nathan has worked previously on different Aboriginal and ecological issues throughout B.C. and elsewhere in Canada involving such critters as salmon, whales, and wolverines (though not all at the same time… yet). One of his passions is applying Aboriginal knowledge and techniques regarding the environment to contemporary resource management issues. In this regard, Nathan has also been involved in researching traditional knowledge of species at risk, as well as the restoration of ecocultural Garry oak landscapes.

Audrey Dallimore

Audrey is a marine geologist who works along the B.C. coast studying paleo-environments from near shore marine sediments. These sediments unveil a history of changes in natural environmental processes and marine ecosystems along the coast, stretching back 10,000 years since the last ice age. This natural history forms a baseline and “back-drop” for current rapid climate and environmental changes as well as earthquake and tsunamis risk assessments, all of which are needed for sustainable environmental and coastal community planning. Audrey moonlights as often as she can working with archaeologists, anthropologists, and First Nations communities to understand how the changes in the natural environment impacted indigenous communities in the past. This deep knowledge of how indigenous communities lived sustainably for thousands of years along the coast can inform our own sustainable planning for the future. Audrey is also passionate about community outreach and knowledge sharing and secured NSERC PromoScience funding through Royal Roads University to support the Learning By The Sea program. Audrey is very pleased to be associated with the Clam Garden Network and to be participating further in community engagement and outreach activities. Affiliation: Associate Professor, School of Environment and Sustainability, Royal Roads University, Victoria, B.C.

Kelly Forbes

Kelly works as the Outreach and Interpretation Officer for the Clam Garden Project in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (GINPR). In partnership with Skye Augustine, Kelly coordinates the outreach education portion of Clam Garden Restoration Project – a five-year, collaborative study involving Coastal First Nations and various partners to examine the impact of clam gardens on intertidal ecosystems, combining traditional knowledge and scientific study. Trained as both a social scientist and an educator, Kelly is a strong advocate for place-based, experiential learning. What excites her most about her work with the Clam Garden Project is that she gets to facilitate opportunities for Coast Salish First Nations to re-engage with their ancestral territories and participate in inter-generational knowledge sharing. She also really loves watching kindergartners search for crabs and sea cucumbers! Follow her on twitter @Forbes_Kel.

Qaixaitasu (Elroy White) – Central Coast Archaeology

Elroy White (MA) from the Haìɫzaqv Nation is the proud owner/operator of Central Coast Archaeology and alumnus of Simon Fraser University. He studies the food, social, and ceremonial use of the ancestral past of the Haíɫzaqv people through the examination of the products of his ancestor’s labour. With his in-depth cultural-historical knowledge of the archaeological sites in his territory, he has collaborated with archaeologists and ecologists from several universities. When Elroy first recorded a clam garden in his territory in 2004, he observed that the clam garden rock walls were built to a different tidal height than the selective fishery stone fish traps in his territory. Elroy conducts Haíɫzaqv-driven research by including multiple generations of Haíɫzaqv people, incorporating his language, and combining science with oral history. His research examines these important clam beaches which were formed in antiquity, yet, continue to be used in modern time by the descendants of the Haìɫzaqv people.

Amy Groesbeck

Amy is a marine ecologist with a passion for marine ecology, natural history, conservation, applied interdisciplinary studies, and working with coastal communities. She is happiest outside with a salty breeze, wandering a shoreline, or sailing the coastlines of Washington and B.C. She earned her bachelors degree in 2006 from the University of Washington, focusing on ecology and evolution. From there, Amy went on to work multiple seasons as a research assistant studying seabirds as indicators of ocean health along the west coast of the U.S., as well as studying the human-driven ecosystem changes in the Gulf of California with Kirsten Rowell. During her Masters work at Simon Fraser University, Amy (along with her advisers Anne Salomon, Kirsten Rowell and Dana Lepofsky) explored how clam gardens influence productivity and nearshore ecology of soft-sediment clam beaches. She is interested in how clam gardens can inform issues of food security, intertidal ecosystem resilience, coastal community sovereignty, and First Nations’ rights and title of the intertidal. Amy has returned to her Seattle roots and is working as a marine ecologist for Tulalip Tribes of Washington. She continues to work as a consultant with a variety of communities and organizations along the B.C. and Washington coasts.

Hakai Institute

The Hakai Institute is a scientific research institution that conducts long-term research at remote locations on the coastal margin of British Columbia, Canada. Their research is driven by a profound sense of place, and integrates across disciplines. The Hakai institute is a great supporter of clam garden research on the BC coast. With research stations on the Central Coast and Quadra Island, the institute is well-situated to facilitate archaeological and ecological investigations of clam gardens in collaboration with a number of researchers from the Clam Garden Network.

John Harper

Dr. John Harper is a coastal geomorphologist with over 30 years of experience in the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Harper has been responsible for the ShoreZone coastal habitat mapping system that now extends from Oregon to the Alaskan arctic – over 100,000 km of contiguous shoreline. The ShoreZone system is a biophysical mapping system with integrated biological and physical attribute data; the ShoreZone system has been co-developed with ecologist Mary Morris. ShoreZone imagery is collected during the lowest part of the tide in the lowest tides of the year and this imagery is often the only low-tide imagery of the year. Dr. Harper is also active in nearshore habitat inventories, mapping and classification systems. He is also considered a specialist in oil-sediment interactions as part of oil spill response planning.

During 1995 ShoreZone surveys in the Broughton Archipelago, Dr. Harper noted repetitive morphologies that he termed “clam gardens” along extensive portions of the shoreline. The search for an explanation of these features eventually led to both LEK and TEK that these features were clam gardens. In subsequent projects, Harper and Morris have identified hundreds of clam gardens from both aerial imagery and during ground surveys (e.g., Laich-Kwil-Tach Treaty Society, Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group; Lyackson and Sliammon First Nation). Dr. Harper has been an invited speaker to the International Shellfish Association, the Sitka Clan Conference, the Auke Bay Fisheries Research Centre, the UBC Fisheries Science Centre, the Ocean Discovery Centre and the Archaeological Society of British Columbia.

Marco Hatch

Marco Hatch is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University. Marco is marine ecologist with a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a member of the Samish Indian Nation. Prior to WWU he directed the Salish Sea Research Center at Northwest Indian College. At WWU he has created a wonderfully diverse lab charged with preparing the next generation of environmental scientists and leaders through fostering respect for Indigenous knowledge and providing students with a solid background in scientific methods. His research focuses on the nexus of people and marine ecology, centered on Indigenous marine management.

Leslie King

Leslie King is Professor of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University in Canada. She holds degrees from the University of British Columbia, York University, University of Toronto and the London School of Economics. King was faculty at the University of Vermont, the Founding Chair of Environment at the University of Northern British Columbia, Founding Dean of the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth and Resources at the University of Manitoba and Vice President Academic at Vancouver Island University. Recent research projects include Meeting the Climate Change Challenge (MC3), Protected Areas and Poverty Reduction in Africa and Canada, Arctic Climate Predictions: Pathways to Sustainable Resilient Societies (ARCPATH), Clam Gardens in BC: Eco-cultural Restoration, and Northern Knowledge for Resilience, Sustainable Environments and Adaptation in Coastal Communities (NORSEACC).

Dana Lepofsky

Dana is an archaeologist who studies the social and ecological aspects of past human interactions with their land and seascapes, particularly among Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest of North America and the Society Islands of French Polynesia. Within the Northwest Coast, she works in the traditional territories of, and in collaboration with, several First Nations. Her recognition of the value of different disciplines and kinds of knowledge has led her to believe strongly in multi-disciplinary and collaborative research. Her research teams seek to blend local ecological and historical knowledge with archaeological data to understand human-environment interactions and when possible, to apply this knowledge to current social and ecological issues. Dana’s role as one of the coordinators of the Clam Garden Network, the Quadra Ecology-Archaeology project and the Hakai Herring School reflects her commitment to collaboration and education. Affiliation: Professor, Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University.

Philip Loring

Philip Loring is a human ecologist with interests in food security, sustainability, and social justice. His philosophy about sustainability is that win-win scenarios, where both people and ecosystems thrive together, are essential to the future of humanity, and he sees clam gardens as a key example. He and his students have ongoing research in coastal and remote communities in Alaska and in Western and Arctic Canada. He holds a PhD in Indigenous Studies and an MA in Anthropology, both from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His work with the clam garden network currently focuses on how the restoration, recovery, and innovation of coastal stewardship practices in the Gulf Islands can contribute to social and ecological resilience, specifically in the face of such risks as ocean acidification, harmful algal blooms, and other environmental contamination. Affiliation: Arrell Chair in Food, Policy, and Society and Associate Professor, University of Guelph. Personal website: The Conservation of Change. Twitter: @conservechange.

Christina Neudorf

Chrissy comes from Saskatchewan, where, at University of Saskatchewan she completed an honours degree in Physical Geography. During this time she developed a strong fascination with landscape evolution and geoarchaeology through a series of research assistantships (held at University of Saskatchewan, University of Calgary, and Simon Fraser University).  Chrissy then continued research in the glacial geology of south-central BC at Simon Fraser University as a Masters student (and where she currently teaches courses in geomorphology and glacial processes and environments). During her PhD, she developed expertise in optical dating at one of the world’s leading luminescence dating facilities, housed at the Centre of Archaeological Science, University of Wollongong, Australia. She currently continues her research under the supervision of Dr. Olav Lian, who is a former PhD student of Prof. David Huntley (SFU), a physicist and the inventor of optical dating. Her current work focuses on refinements and applications of geochronological methods (mainly luminescence dating) for landscape reconstruction and archaeology in coastal, glaciated, aeolian, lacustrine and fluvial settings.


Ala̱g̱a̱mił (Nicole Norris)

Halalt First Nation

Shellfish Aquaculture Specialist / Intergovernmental Communicator/Cultural Support Worker;  knowledge holder and language preserver for the Hul’qumi’num.


Kirsten Rowell

Kirsten’s research sits at the intersection of conservation science, ecology, and paleontology. She works primarily on applied ecology questions that address how ecosystems have changed during the Anthropocene. to what extent have they changed, and what are the drivers for this change. Part of her research focuses on setting ecological baselines through experiments, natural history, and the isotopic record embedded in culturally significant faunal remains. As a curator, Kirsten has been working at the interface between academia and the rest of the world. She’s been engaged across traditional academic boundaries – between art and science, academics and the public, research and advocacy. The projects address how conservation science and natural history education engage a world with so many competing forces for our attention. Prior to moving to the Pacific Northwest and working in the Salish Sea, Kirsten spent 10+ years working to understand the impacts of river regulation (dams, diversions and flow modifications) on aquatic systems in the context of trans-boundary (U.S.-Mexico border) water management. She is presently exploring the ecological significance of clam gardens on Quadra Island. Affiliation: Curator of Malacology at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture and Acting Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at University of Washington.

Anne Salomon

Anne is an applied marine ecologist working at the nexus of community and ecosystem ecology, sustainability science, and marine policy. Her research aims to advance the understanding of the feedbacks between humans and the productivity, biodiversity, and resilience of marine ecosystems with the goal of informing ecologically sustainable and socially just conservation policies. Anne is deeply committed to working across disciplines and sectors to catalyze transdisciplinary research that addresses environmental challenges of concern to Canadian and global society. To that end, Anne cultivates research partnerships among Indigenous knowledge holders, government and non-government organizations, and natural and social scientists. As a strong advocate of evidence-based decision-making, Anne links science to policy by co-designing her research with Indigenous, provincial, and federal government agencies and resource users from the outset, with knowledge mobilization as a fundamental goal of her research. Much of Annes’ work aims to incorporate archaeological data and Indigenous traditional knowledge into quantitative ecological analyses to provide greater time-depth to her analyses of coastal system dynamics to better inform and democratize ocean governance.

Jennifer Silver

Jen is trained as a social scientist and has over 15 years of research experience working in and with coastal communities. These projects have explored questions around the diverse local values and uses of marine resources and about how communities could/should be involved in governance. She is very happy to be a part of the Clam Garden Network! Clam Gardens provide an exciting opportunity to share knowledge about their extent, function(s) and past management and to inform contemporary debates about community economy, cultural revitalization, and Indigenous ocean spaces and territories. Jen’s published research has been about how shellfish aquaculture expansion has catalyzed changing ocean property regimes and about access and equity in British Columbia commercial fisheries. Affiliation: Associate Professor, Geography, Environment and Geomatics at the University of Guelph.

Nicole Smith

Nicole is an independent archaeologist based in Victoria, B.C. She has been working on the B.C. coast since 2000, primarily with First Nations communities, Hakai Institute, Parks Canada, and university colleagues. She began studying clam gardens in 2007 and since then has been involved in clam garden research in Haida Gwaii as well as various locations in Coast Salish, Laich-Kwil-Tach, Heiltsuk, and Nuu-chah-nulth culture areas.  She and colleagues in the Clam Garden Network have used archaeological techniques to confirm what Indigenous communities have always known; that First Nations have been building and caring for clam gardens continuously for thousands of years. She is most passionate about collaborating with First Nations communities and youth to explore and connect with archaeological heritage. www.nicolefsmith.com