2021 Biocultural Restoration Event

Biocultural Restoration

River Restoration Northwest is excited to host a virtual event investigating the practice and values of Biocultural Restoration to help our community acquire increased understanding surrounding the practice of biocultural restoration and to gather some examples from the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

The Center for Native Peoples and the Environment defines biocultural restoration as “the science and practice of restoring not only ecosystems, but human and cultural relationships to place, so that cultures are strengthened and revitalized along with the lands to which they are inextricably linked.” 

February 1st, 2021 Virtual Panel Presentation

Thank you to the thousands who joined us for our discussion on the practice of biocultural restoration which included the following local and nationally recognized leaders:

Keynote Speaker:  Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer

Panel Speakers: Gabe Sheoships, Brittani Orona, and Charley Reed

Moderator: Karilyn Alex

We have recorded this event and posted it up on our YouTube Channel for viewing.

See full biographies below.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer     

Panel Speakers: Gabe Sheoships, Brittani Orona, and Charley Reed.

Time: 1pm to 4pm PST

Register for this free virtual event here:


Keynote Speaker: Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer

Dr. Kimmerer is the co-founder and past president of the Traditional Ecological Knowledge section of the Ecological Society of America. Dr. Kimmerer serves as a Senior Fellow for the Center for Nature and Humans. She is a mother, plant ecologist, writer and SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York.

She serves as the founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment whose mission is to create programs which draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for our shared goals of sustainability. Her research interests include the role of traditional ecological knowledge in ecological restoration and the ecology of mosses. In collaboration with tribal partners, she and her students have an active research program in the ecology and restoration of plants of cultural significance to Native people. She is active in efforts to broaden access to environmental science education for Native students, and to create new models for integration of indigenous philosophy and scientific tools on behalf of land and culture. She is engaged in programs which introduce the benefits of traditional ecological knowledge to the scientific community, in a way that respects and protects indigenous knowledge.

As a writer and a scientist, her interests in restoration include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land. Dr. Kimmerer is the author of numerous scientific papers on the ecology of mosses and restoration ecology and on the contributions of traditional ecological knowledge to our understanding of the natural world. She is also active in literary biology. Her essays appear in Whole Terrain, Adirondack Life, Orion and several anthologies. She is the author of “Gathering Moss” which incorporates both traditional indigenous knowledge and scientific perspectives and was awarded the prestigious John Burroughs Medal for Nature Writing in 2005. Her latest book “Braiding Sweetgrass: indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants” was released in 2013 and was awarded the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award. She has served as writer in residence at the Andrews Experimental Forest, Blue Mountain Center, the Sitka Center and the Mesa Refuge.

She holds a BS in Botany from SUNY ESF, an MS and PhD in Botany from the University of Wisconsin and is the author of numerous scientific papers on plant ecology, bryophyte ecology, traditional knowledge and restoration ecology. As a writer and a scientist, her interests in restoration include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land. She lives on an old farm in upstate New York, tending gardens both cultivated and wild.

Gabe Sheoships

Gabe is the Executive Director of the Friends of Tryon Creek, where he leads efforts focused on community building, environmental stewardship and protection of the natural world. Gabe is Cayuse and Walla Walla, from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Gabe has spent his life along the travel corridors and pathways of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, following traditional migratory routes of his ancestors. Gabe has dedicated his life’s work to protecting Indigenous First Foods, encouraging healthy ecosystems and empowering people to act as stewards of the land and water. In the Portland metropolitan area, Gabe has roots and relationships with Black, Indigenous, Immigrant and Refugee communities that date back to the 1980s. Through these relationships Gabe has built and advocated for change and continued support to meet community needs that have shifted and grown in his 20 years of work.

Gabe serves as the Board President for the Tributaries Network, and on the board of the Center for Diversity & the Environment and Freshwaters Illustrated, each of which are non-profit organizations. As an Adjunct Professor at Portland State University, Gabe instructs students within courses set in the Indigenous Nations Studies Program, Environmental Science and Management, and University Studies departments. Gabe has an MSc in Fisheries Biology from Oregon State University. Family, fatherhood, and friendship are what Gabe holds most important, which among others, includes a college-age son.

Brittani Orona

Brittani Orona is an enrolled member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe.  She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at UC Davis in Native American Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Human Rights. Brittani is interested in repatriation, federal Indian law, cultural resources management, indigenous environmental justice, and environmental history as they relate to California Indian tribes. Her dissertation research focuses on Hupa, Yurok, and Karuk perspectives of visual sovereignty, memory, human and water rights on the Klamath River Basin. She is currently a Board Advisor for Save California Salmon, a grassroots organization dedicated to protecting rivers through the restoration of flows and salmon habitat, removing dams, and improving water quality throughout Northern California. Brittani was a 2019 Switzer Environmental Fellow and the inaugural 2020 Incomindios-Lippuner Scholar.

Charley Reed

Ayukii (Hello), huut kich (how are you)? Nani thuuy uum (my name is) Charley Reed. I am a Karuk, Hupa, and Yurok person of the Klamath-Trinity watershed in northern California. Although I am an enrolled Hoopa Valley Tribal member, I grew up in a Karuk household, primarily learning the language, practices and ceremonies of the Karuk people. Along with the rich lineage that I have inherited comes a great responsibility for my people, my cultures and our environment. One of my inherent responsibilities involves advocating for the future of our more-than-human relative, Spring Chinook salmon. Which is why I am attending Humboldt State University in pursuit of a Master’s degree in Environment and Community Social Science program. This degree will create a narrative that reaffirms Indigenous’ people's experiences, values and perspectives that my ancestors have learned for generations.

Karilyn Alex

Karilyn is a fisheries biologist and fluvial geomorphologist with the Okanagan Nation Alliance. Karilyn worked as a fisheries technician and river rafting guide while finishing a Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of Victoria. Karilyn then went on the complete a Masters Degree through the Canadian Rivers Institute at the University of New Brunswick. Her Masters Degree was multi-disciplinary between fisheries biology and hydraulic engineering looking at types for flow parameters that impact spawning Sockeye Salmon. Karilyn’s major area of study is river restoration in regards to salmon spawning and egg incubation habitat through the guidance from Traditional Ecological Knowledge. She has been working with the Okanagan Nation Alliance Fisheries Department since 2002 while raising her family.

Opportunities to connect virtually and in the field, to follow.

Location: Virtual

Instructors include: Kent Woodruff, Colin Thorne, Mark Beardsley, Alexa Whipple and Alec Spensor.

Course fee: $500

Description: This remotely taught short course covers the working with beavers to achieve river restoration goals by providing an understanding of beaver biology and their role as drivers of ecosystem recovery. The course deals with how practitioners can mimic beaver structures in their restoration designs as well as how to support the viability and expansion of beaver colonies.

During this course, students will learn about:

(1) beaver trapping, tagging and testing

(2) beaver biology and behavior

(3) unique beaver colonies in tidal environments

(4) practical methods to replicate beaver structures in streams to promote recovery and restoration of incised streams


Please contact our Programs Lead Danielle Devier Symposium@rrnw.org for questions about the series.


Please contact our registrar Peggy registrar@rrnw.org for questions associated with RRNW Course Registration.