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

clam-garden-sci-cul-61Skye Augustine (Hwsyun’yun) is from the Stz’uminus Nation and works for Parks Canada as the Clam Garden Project Coordinator in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (GINPR). In this role, Skye oversees 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. Skye first fell in love with clam gardens as a summer student and has continued this work as a collaborator on the Learning By The Sea program, as an Adjunct Faculty at Northwest Indian College where she works with undergraduate marine science students through the Salish Sea Research Center, and now as a doctoral student in the Coastal Marine Ecology and Conservation Lab at Simon Fraser University. You can follow her on twitter @SkyeAugustine


Morgan Black

dscn3055-2Morgan 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

IMG_4730 (compressed)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 head shotAudrey 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

bioblitz-2016-cred-hugo-wong-3109-forbesKelly 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.


Gitla (Elroy White) – Central Coast Archaeology

ElroyElroy White descends from the house of Qaixaitasu from the ancient village of Nulu.  He is an active member of the ceremonial potlatch system, which is integral to the existence of the Heiltsuk people and their laws. Through potlatching and conducting research in his territory, he acquired his cultural historical knowledge, which allows him to act as a bridge between outsider researchers, First Nations chiefs, leaders, and youth. This knowledge also helps him understand the archaeological record on their terms. As part of his graduate thesis on stone fish traps, an ancient selective fishery management system, he recorded the first clam garden on the central coast in 2004. He has also identified clam garden rock wall features on archaeological inventory surveys. As a resident of the Central Coast, he sees clam gardens everywhere, large and small, yet he hasn’t dug a rock wall clam bed as part of a family traditional subsistence activity. He is excited to collaborate on the clam garden and shellfish harvesting interviews with Nicole Smith and Dana Lepofsky. He is happy to see the continuation of original research in his territory, but this time in collaboration with outside researchers.


Amy Groesbeck

AmyClamsortingAmy 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

hakai-institute-logo-on-redThe 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

mm&jhDr. 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_divingMarco Hatch is from the Samish Indian Nation, a Coast Salish tribe located in the central Salish Sea / San Juan Islands area of Washington State. Marco loves clam gardens because they can be used as a lens to view all sorts of interesting topics, from ocean acidification to what natural beaches should look like. Using his background as a marine ecologist and oceanographer, he studies clam gardens from an ecological framework, meaning he tries to understand the mechanisms that result in better conditions for clams. The majority of his current ecological work is in Heiltsuk Territory where he measures the impact of rock wall construction on butter clam growth. In collaboration with many of the other great folks listed here, he is also looking at the physical differences, such as sediment size and amounts of organic carbon, between clam gardens and open beaches. He has learned a ton from being part of the Clam Garden Network and hopes to bring some of this work to his traditional home territory in the San Juan Islands. www.marcohatch.com. Affiliation: Director of the Salish Sea Research Center at Northwest Indian College Bellingham, WA.


Dana Lepofsky

DanaDana 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

loring fishingPhilip 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: Assistant Professor, School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan. Personal website: The Conservation of Change. Twitter: @conservechange.


Christina Neudorf

christina-neudorf-picChrissy 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.


Kirsten Rowell

kirsten2Kirsten’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

AnneAnne is an applied marine ecologist and Pew Fellow interested in understanding how human activities alter the productivity, biodiversity, and resilience of coastal food webs to inform ecosystem approaches to marine conservation. Anne and her students study the cascading effects of marine predator depletion and recovery, regime shifts and their tipping points in kelp forest ecosystems, marine spatial planning and ecosystem-based management, and the factors that confer resilience to coupled social-ecological systems. To address these topics, they combine experimental and theoretical ecology with remote sensing, ecosystem modeling, historical records, archaeological data, and indigenous knowledge. Anne strives to engage coastal communities and government agencies in collaborative research and encourages constructive dialogue among stakeholders to design effective marine policies that balance the needs of people and nature. Anne’s work on clam gardens has centered on supervising the ecological portion of the Quadra Clam Garden study, and also on documenting clam gardens in the Hakai region of the central coast. There, she has supervised grad student and post-doctoral projects that quantify the ecological effects of clam gardens on clam growth and abundance. Affiliation: Assistant Professor and Hakai Professor, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University.


Jennifer Silver

Jen SilverJen is trained as a social scientist and has approximately twelve 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 because there is a lot to be learned on these topics through clam gardens! Clam Gardens provide an exciting opportunity not only to build and mobilize knowledge about their extent, function(s) and past management, but also to inform contemporary debates about community economy, cultural revitalization, and the scope and meaning of First Nations’ ocean territories. Jen’s published research to date has been about how shellfish aquaculture expansion has catalyzed changing ocean property regimes and efforts to involve First Nations in that sector. This research, and the people who have participated in it, led her to clam gardens and the network. Affiliation: Assistant Professor in Geography at the University of Guelph.


Nicole Smith

NSmith by A MackieNicole is an independent archaeologist based in Vancouver, B.C. She has been working on the B.C. coast since 2000, primarily with First Nations communities, Hakai Institute, Parks Canada, and colleagues at a number of universities. She is one of the coordinators of the Clam Garden Network, and began studying clam gardens in 2008 when she helped design and implement a four-year research program studying intertidal archaeological sites within Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. She is also involved in clam garden research in the southern and northern Gulf Islands, the central coast and on western Vancouver Island where she co-instructs an undergraduate archaeological field school in Huu-ay-aht First Nations territory at the Bamfield Marine Science Centre. She is most passionate about collaborating with First Nations communities and youth to explore and connect with archaeological heritage, and is excited about venturing into the world of film to document clam gardens as places of learning.