The Coalition

D. Simon Jackson

D. Simon Jackson :: Founder and Executive Director
Spirit Bear Youth Coalition

From sending the proceeds of a lemonade stand to the World Wildlife Fund to help protect Alaska's Kodiak bears at the age of seven, to organizing his grade five and six classes in a letter writing campaign to ban lead shot for waterfowl hunting, thus protecting bald eagles, Simon Jackson has always believed in the power of one. At the age of 13, he heard about North AmericaÕs rarest bear - the white Kermode or spirit bear - and the plans to develop their last intact habitat on British ColumbiaÕs central coast. He knew he had to help.

Jackson founded the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition - one of the world's first all youth-run organizations and the first involved in this issue - with the hope of creating a new type of environmental advocacy group.

From a student in Morocco to Prince William - the issue that was once was a middle school letter writing campaign quickly developed into a broad-based global issue. As letters of support from students around the world mounted, Statistics Canada recognized the issue as the most supported conservation initiative in Canadian history and Time Magazine declared it the most important environmental issue facing the world in 1999.

On April 4th, 2001, at the age of 18, Jackson's Youth Coalition helped create an historic land-use agreement with logging companies, First Nations, all levels of government, and environmental groups to create a framework for sustainability - economically, socially, and environmentally - on the BC coast. The agreement helped protect half and defer development in the other half of the spirit bearÕs last intact habitat and went on to look at the entire BC coast. It resulted in the largest land protection measure in the history of North America.

Jackson and the Youth Coalition are still working with the framework of the April 4th agreement to help the Kitasoo First Nation and the BC government protect the remaining unprotected half of the spirit bear's last intact ecosystem. In order to help facilitate this challenge, Jackson was instrumental in reassembling the same team responsible for Lion King and other major animated classics of recent memory under the umbrella of Helade Productions - a company Jackson co-founded. After years of work, Helade Productions is now in full production of The Spirit Bear - the first major Hollywood animated movie made for the specific purpose of saving its namesake. When the full-length CGI movie is released into theatres worldwide in the spring of 2008, a portion of every ticket sold will go directly back toward helping save the spirit bear by investing in the economic potential of isolated coastal communities, thus saving the spirit bear.

Today, Jackson remains the full-time volunteer Executive Director of the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition which is backed by, among others, Dr. Jane Goodall, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., J.K. Rowling, Nickelback, and Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys. It is the largest youth-led environmental organization in the world with a network of more than 6 million in every province in Canada and 64 countries worldwide.

Jackson has received several honors for his work to save the spirit bear, including a being awarded a YTV Achievement Award, being selected as one of the top 25 Up and Comers by MacLeanÕs Magazine, receiving one of 20 full scholarships worth $50,000 for community service from TD Canada Trust, and, most notably, being honored as one of Time MagazineÕs sixty Heroes for the Planet - one of only six young people selected from around the world. His life's work is now the inspiration for a movie of the week - CTV's Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story will be airing this fall on CTV and is already airing on HBO and the Disney Channel around the world.

Jackson, aside from his duties with the Youth Coalition, is the Executive Producer and Spokesperson for The Spirit Bear. Jackson is one of the founding members and Chairman of a new organization - PACT (Partnerships: Adults and Children Together). PACT is the Youth CoalitionÕs legacy partner - aiming to make young people partners in decision making processes across Canada and around the world. Additionally, Jackson volunteers on the board of directors or acts as an advisor to 17 organizations - all-relating to environmental stewardship or youth participation, including the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada (Vice President/Chair), FORED BC (Chairman), Dream Now (board member), Global Youth Fund (board member), OneGlobalTribe (board member), the Institute for Youth Research on Public Policy (board member), the International Institute for Child Rights and Development (board member). In his for-profit capacity, Jackson is the founder and Principal of Jackson Strategies, a Vancouver-based strategic planning and communications consulting firm, a motivational speaker, a commentator, and a photographer.

While enrolled in Political Science at the prestigious Trinity College at the University of Toronto, Jackson has deferred his studies indefinitely to complete his mission - the guaranteed survival of our spirit bear.