Working with the K’ómoks Nation towards Q’waq’wala7owkw on their unceded territory.

Working with the K’ómoks Nation towards Q’waq’wala7owkw on their unceded territory.


Suggested Grades: 7

Note: This lesson can be done in two or more parts. Steps 1-3 could be done one day perhaps when you are talking about other upper watershed topics and issues and steps 4-6 on another day perhaps when you are talking about lower watershed topics and issues.

Driving Questions

Grade 7

  • How is climate change affecting us in the Comox Valley?
  • How does planting marine plants in the Comox Valley affect climate change?

Learning Intentions

  • I can give local examples of the effects of climate change
  • I think about how everything is connected and affects each other- people-glacier-estuary

Curricular Competencies

Science/Socials/Language Arts  

  • Questioning
  • Processing and analyzing data and information
  • Communicating
  • Ask questions; gather, interpret, and analyze ideas; and communicate findings
  • Recognize causes and consequences of events, decisions, or developments
  • Sequence objects, images, or events, and explain why some aspects change and others stay the same (continuity and change)
  • Comprehend and connect (reading, listening, viewing)
  • Create and communicate (writing, speaking, representing)


  1. Discuss climate change (see Discussion Notes) and Brainstorm Question.
  2. Show Comox Glacier slideshow (see Slideshow questions and information). Point out that climate change is affecting us from Glacier to the Estuary.
  3. Explain how to do the Glacier Worksheet. Have students do the worksheet and create graphs.
  4. Show the Courtenay Flooding slideshow.
  5. Introduce and discuss Blue Carbon.
  6. Give one or more study questions as homework.
  7. Students can present homework to class or hand in a written report.

Discussion Notes

Scientific data suggests that humans are affecting the climate. Our activity, especially with our extensive use of fossil fuels (oil and coal), is generating excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and this is causing the earth to warm.  16 of the top warmest 17 years have occurred since 2000. 2016 was the warmest year in 137 years (NASA). It is likely that we will continue to break climate records.

Brainstorm Question:

Can you come up of some ways in which this increasing temperature is affecting us locally in the Comox Valley?

Slideshow Questions and Information

  • Disappearance of the Comox Glacier (Kwénis)  – see photos of the glacer over the last 50 years
    • What do you notice in this first picture? How deep would you estimate the ice to be?
    • What is happening over time? Why?
    • How deep would you estimate the ice to be in this last picture?
    • How does this affect humans, plants and animals? Decreased amounts of snow for winter activities, less snow to melt in the spring/summer, less water for streams/rivers (some streams will even dry up), less water for fish, plants and animals, tubing etc…temperatures in shallower water are higher and this can also negatively affect species that depend on that water
    • What can be done?
  • Flooding – there is an increased number of storm events and flooding
    • How is the first picture different from the second picture?
    • Why is this flooding happening?
    • How does this affects persons and  businesses that are located in a floodplain? Property damage, trouble commuting, higher insurance fees.  New concept “planned retreat” to move away from areas that flood.
  • Movement of organisms normally not found here from the south as the temperature increases – examples: Nile virus in Mosquitoes, Cryptococcus (fungal pathogen in trees producing lung disease in human)

Blue Carbon

Blue  carbon – is the carbon dioxide removed by marine or estuarine plants

  • In the K’ómoks Estuary eelgrass and salt marsh (sedges) sequester carbon dioxide at high rates and removes the gas from the atmosphere
  • They do this many times better than the same area would in Cathedral Grove

In addition:

  • These vegetation systems are sensitive habitat for salmon and other wildlife.
  • salt marsh protects  against wave action and storm surges
  • Eelgrass provides biomass which slows wave action again with biomass of vegetation

Salt marsh and eelgrass restoration and protection helps mitigate (lessen) the global issue of climate change and provides habitat benefits locally.

Blue Carbon Resources

climate change, eelgrass, kelp, photosynthesis, salt marsh

Study Questions

  • What do your parents and grandparents say when you ask them about the climate and how it has changed  (especially those living locally here in the Comox Valley)?
  • Can you identify other organisms that have been affected by climate change that have caused problems here in the Comox Valley – bullfrogs, Canada Geese, spruce budworm etc…
  • Name an organisations that has planted blue carbon plants in the Comox Valley. What kind of plants did they plant? Where?
  • What can you do to mitigate climate change?

Community Connection

Contact Project Watershed to volunteer to plant trees, salt marsh or eelgrass.