Youth Saving Bears
In 1995, having learned about the plight of the spirit bear, then 13-year-old Simon Jackson knew he had to help.
The youth movement that started at a middle school on the North Shore of Vancouver grew amid three guiding principals in its desire to save the spirit bear’s last intact habitat. Be an advocate for the spirit bear that would ensure it had a clear and distinct voice free of political baggage from other issues; build a coalition of supporters from all walks of life and from all parts of the political spectrum; and give young people – the future stewards of the land – a seat at the decision making table. It was these ideals that led Jackson to invite three young leaders to his parent’s basement – Erin Andrecheck, Dan Cowper, and Salimah Ebrahim – to create a unifying organization for the four-year-old campaign: the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition.
Officially incorporated in 1999 as a volunteer, youth-run, non-profit, the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition was always a different type of organization. The Youth Coalition has sought to work with all decision makers at all levels to achieve the best results for the spirit bear by using science as the foundation, but building the campaign on sound economics. The hope has always been that the organization would refrain from preaching, but work to strike a balance on the issues that would meet the needs of all stakeholders’ bottom lines, but most especially the spirit bears.
The actions we take today will be our legacy for our future and the Youth Coalition hopes that by helping ensure the future of the remarkable spirit bear, we will have done more than simply save a globally important creature, but equally showcase to young people the world over the power of one – the difference each of us can make for the spirit bear and for any issue that we believe in.
Board of Directors
- Chairman of the Board and President D. Simon Jackson
- Founding MemberSalimah Ebrahim,- Vice Chair of Board
- Vice Chair of the BoardDev Aujla,- Founder and Executive Director, Dream Now
- Matthew Cloutier- Founder and President: Institute for Youth Research and Public Policy
- Mark Masongsong- Executive Director, PACT (Partnerships: Adults and Children Together)
- Tiffany Parsons- Founder and President, Youth Environment Program
- Secretary/Treasurer of the BoardLarissa Vingilis-Jaremko- Founder and Executive Director, Canadian Association of Girls in Science
- Justin McElroy