Koeye Field School: Indigenous Knowledge, Science, and Resource Management

A partnership between the UVic Department of Geography and the QQS Projects Society of the Heiltsuk First Nation

Jess Housty leads a hands-on experience learning about a millennia-old clam garden and the Indigenous Knowledge systems that supported them (Photo by Chris Darimont)

Chris Darimont and students inspect a grizzly bear 'stomp trail' - a path created through the ritualized stepping of generations of bears at Koeye (Photo by Elias del Valle)

On a fine May day, freshly picked seaweed dries on the beach at Bella Bella, where connections between people and resources abound (Photo by Elias del Valle)

Interacting with multiple research projects at Koeye, students help measure juvenile salmon smolts before they are released (Photo by Kear Porttris)

The lodge at Koeye river (Photo by Kear Porttris)

Geography 453 students in Heiltsuk/Wuikinuxv Territories, coastal BC

When and Where

2024 Field School: May 1st - 7th, Koeye River Lodge, the Great Bear Rainforest

How to Apply

Apply in: Spring term

Applications for 2024 are closed.

Contact  if you have any questions.

Program Overview

For a full program description, see the Information Sheet.

The Indigenous Knowledge, Science & Resource Management Field School is based at the remote Koeye River Lodge, Heiltsuk Territory. It is co-instructed by Jess Housty of the QQS Projects Society and Chris Darimont of UVic Geography.


  • Students should have third or fourth year standing.
  • This field school is designed primarily as a capstone experience for senior Geography students, but the selection committee will consider other applicants at UVic and beyond based on a variety of factors, including course, life, and work experience. We are particularly interested in students from coastal Indigenous communities in the area (and offer fellowships to eligible applicants; please see below).
  • This field school will involve outdoor activities that will at times be physically demanding, such as hiking over rough or steep terrain and canoeing. Applicants must mention if they have any accessibility needs that may affect their ability to participate in these activities, so that potential accommodations can be discussed.
  • Finally, we ask applicants to answer several questions, which allows us to assess the fit of each applicant and what they could contribute to the learning and community-engaged experience. We typically receive many more applications that the 15 spots available.

If you have any further questions about the course, please email Chris Darimont at darimont@uvic.ca


This field school is comprised of one course worth 1.5 credits.  Successful applicants will be registered in the course through special registration by the Department of Geography (students will not register themselves). Students at other institutions will need to register as a visiting student at UVic before enrolling.  Those students can ask program counsellors at their home institutions about transfer credit, which we will support.

  1. Geog 453– Field Studies in Coastal and Marine Resources

Field School Fees

For field schools, students pay regular UVic tuition plus field school fees (see below).

Field school fees can be paid by cheque, money order, counter cheque, or cash ONLY. Cheques should be made payable to the University of Victoria. Payment can be dropped off at the Geography main office (David Turpin Building room B203), or mailed (cheque only). DO NOT MAIL CASH.

 Field school fees:

  • $1000 due within one week (March 14th, 2024) of notice of application decision (March 7th, 2024)
  • No deposit will be required with the application

 Field school fees include:                      

  • Room & board at the Koeye River Lodge (include Koeye staff)
  • Water taxi charters to and from Port Hardy (students responsible for travel to and from Port Hardy)
  • Teaching- and research-related equipment and materials
  • Compensation for guest lecturers and knowledge holders

 Field school fees do not include:

  • Tuition
  • Travel to and from Port Hardy, which might include overnight accommodation
  • Other expenses such as any personal gear (e.g. hiking shoes) required for the course.


Financial Support

This field school has been directly subsidized by the Department of Geography. No application is necessary to receive this support, as it has already been built into the field school fees.

Self-identified Indigenous students may apply for the Edward Martin Field School Award, a special fund set up for this field school. Edward Martin was an Elder and Knowledge Holder who taught at the Koeye River. Students should submit their application for this award along with their field school application – by February 29th, 2024.