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Project -Re- Generation

Spring 2021: Pilot Program

Welcome to the inaugural cohort of Project -Re- Generation! In the spring of 2021, six students, ages 11-14, gathered together for eight weeks to explore the concept of sustainability. Most were off-island residents, from neighbouring Chemainus and Crofton, and one intrepid soul hailed from Gabriola! Two of our participants were long-time Thetisians, who grew up wandering the lush forests and rocky beaches of their island home. The pilot program was facilitated by Charlotte Fesnoux and ThINCpod alumni, Lara Jensen


An enormous thanks to the Porter family for allowing us access to the idyllic grounds of The Portal, to ThINC for supporting this initiative, and to members of the Thetis Island community for their involvement. 


Meet the team, check out our projects, and learn more about what we have been up to by following our blog.

Meet the Inaugural ReGen Cohort

Meet the Team


Everest is a creative, kind, helpful, and loving person. Some of the things he likes doing in his free time includes writing, drawing, modeling, making a lot of things with his hands and so much more. He was born in Vancouver BC and lived there for seven years before moving to Gabriola Island, BC where he has lived for five years. Everest is twelve years of age, has many passions, and loves his mom, dad, brother, sister, three legged dog, his thirteen chickens, and six goats. He is very excited to be in the Thetis island program and has already made a friend. He may have his differences and faults, but he's still Everest, and Everest is raring to go on Thetis island.



Kaia is a passionate environmentalist and burgeoning marine biologist. One of Kaia’s favourite places to be is out on the beach at low tide, exploring all of the creatures that live in the intertidal zone. Kaia often spends her time documenting nature through art and writing and can often be found with piles of felt roving around her, just waiting to be transformed into her latest creation. Kaia loves reading and taking care of her younger sisters. She is also a professional stage actress having starred in the Chemainus Theatre’s renditions of The Sound of Music and Miracle on 34th Street. Kaia is hoping to bring her knowledge of all things' nature to Project -Re- Generation. 



Zoe has lived in the Cowichan Valley her entire life. She lives on two acres and is in a family of five, including her dad, mom, sister, brother, and herself. She has three chickens and lots of wild birds! Zoe has traveled to many tropical locations, including Belize and Costa Rica and loves the majestic wildlife and beaches! Her dream is to become a marine biologist because of her great interest in animals. Specifically, she is passionate about marine mammals and land animals. She would like to help the environment so has joined Project -Re- Generation. So far she thinks it is amazing and very fun, and can’t wait to help the Earth and its animals.


Saffron was born in Calgary, Alberta. While her parents were WOOFING they moved to Thetis Island when she was three years old. On Thetis, Saffron grew up on a small hobby farm and has cared for a number of animals, including horses, goats, pigs, and chickens (and dogs and cats!). In addition to the many animals in her life, she has two pet insects: Vanilla a tarantula and Pickles a whip scorpion. She enjoys riding her horses through the beautiful trails on Thetis with her sister, Crimson, and has always had a love for animals, nature, and learning new ways to help our planet. Saffron is hoping to become an entomologist and travel the world. 



Kasian comes to Project -Re- Generation with a solid background in sustainability. He is a small business owner, a bike mechanic and builder, and enjoys most things on two wheels. Kasian is an older brother to four sisters and has been leading the Russell children in advocating for cycling transportation infrastructure that services all ages and abilities. Kasian loves being outside exploring trails and beaches around Chemainus. When not on two wheels, Kasian can be found carving, reading, gardening, or playing one of four musical instruments he is working on learning. Kasian is hoping his vast knowledge of science will be put to good use during the program.



A Thetisian her whole life, Erica has travelled on Thetis trails and roads in a buggy, in a bike trailer, on a trail-a-bike, on foot, and on horse.  Memories of nature include beaches of Baja Mexico, saying her first word "agua", and seeing Belize.  Favourite places to share with others include looking for bioluminescence at Hunter's Beach and listening to Meadow Valley's waterfall. She likes to pick berries from the garden and forage for the native fruit, Salmonberry. Reducing consumerism has been a goal by unearthing treasures from Thetis's free store and from scouring pre-owned items. She is curiously experimenting using herbs in cooking and is expanding her indoor collection of succulents. Skiing and participating in 4H are activities she has enjoyed. Travelling the world, New York #1, is her dream.

If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production. 

- Pete Seeger


The Collaborative Project:

Pollinator Garden Combo-Pack

The collaborative project is an essential part of the ReGen experience. It aims to develop students’ process and design thinking, while allowing them to flex diverse critical skills. It is an emergent learning practice whereby students are the designers and creators, providing them with a sense of ownership in their learning. As these are real-world projects, students play a role in having a positive impact on their community.

In the second week of the program we heard from nine Thetisians who pitched their project ideas on a range of sustainability topics, from black soldier fly larvae farming and mushroom cultivation to invasive species removal and a Thetis Island tool library.


After much deliberation, the group collectively decided on a ‘Pollinator Garden Combo-Pack’ project at the Nature House. This project combined two of the project ideas pitched: designing and constructing a mason bee house and establishing a water retention/diversion strategy to protect the space from winter flooding.

Read more about our two projects below and make sure to click on the bolded items as they are links to our documents!

The Project

Revamping the Bee Abode

Inspired by Lara’s pitch to create a Slovenian style apiary, four students (Team Bee House / BH) chose to bring back and revamp the mason bee house nook at the Pollinator Garden - after all, it is a garden for pollinators! After doing some research, Team BH designed and constructed their bee abode, with help from Thetisian and wood working extraordinaire, Ron Vandergaag. In tandem with building their bee house, Team BH created two documents:

1) How we Built our Bee Home, and

2) How to Clean Your Bee Home: A step-by-step guide

Reimagining Water Flow in and around the Pollinator Garden

After learning about the flooding the Pollinator Garden experiences each winter, Team RG (aka Rain Garden, ReGen, or Really Good) decided it was a project worth tackling. The original pitch was to create a series of rain gardens to alleviate flooding, however, after consulting with three local experts / stakeholders: Doug, Ian, and Geoff, Team RG realized the enormity of the project before them. “Rain gardens” were only the tip of the much more complex solution to deal with winter flooding at the Pollinator Garden. In response, Team RG pivoted their strategy and:

1) created a site map and proposal, 'Reimagining Water Flow in and around the Pollinator Garden'

2) produced a perc test video, 'A Perfectly Presented Perc Test' (bottom of page), and

3) constructed a Hugel mound with the rest of the ReGen team

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