GeoPro Talks – Integrating Western Science and Traditional Knowledge in Restoration Works

December 2nd, 2022 by

Colonial settlement and urban development have had profound impacts on the hydrology and hydrogeology of the Lower Mainland. This talk will discuss flooding issues at a First Nation’s cemetery. We will sketch out the way in which Indigenous leaders and knowledge-holders are enlisting social, biological, and physical scientists to help them develop culturally acceptable solutions to long-standing problems. We will also explore different ways of knowing and offer some suggestions for how to enhance collaboration among practitioners and communities.


Leslie Beckmann, B.Sc.H., M.A., M.F.A.

Leslie has been an environmental consultant since 1988. She now has extensive grounding in both environmental science and management; her focus has been on using and communicating science for decision-making. Since 2011 – when she appeared as an expert witness the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel on behalf of Gitxaała First Nation – Leslie’s practice has centred working with Indigenous groups and their legal counsel to review and respond to proposed developments. The goal of this work has been to ensure that Impact Assessment processes adequately address Indigenous concerns about impacts on culture, resources, and the exercise of rights within their traditional territories. Since then, Leslie has worked with First Nations in British Columbia, Yukon, and Alberta on major resource extraction (bitumen, metals, metallurgical coal) and infrastructure construction (pipelines, ports facilities, flood, and debris control structures) projects.  Leslie is also a published writer, is a career mentor for young professionals, and the mother of a university-aged daughter who is a competitive rower and is studying resource environmental science. Leslie is grateful for the privilege of living on the north shore of səl̓ilw̓ət (Burrard Inlet) in the area also known as North Vancouver.

Tahina Choudhury, B.Sc., M.Sc., P.Geo.

Tahina has been practicing as a hydrogeologist since 2016, with project experience in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. She has worked on various projects. These range from remediation projects to environmental site assessments, landfill assessments, and hydrogeological assessments for the infrastructure, mining, and oil and gas industries.  Tahina currently resides in Nelson, BC, where she spends her time enjoying the beautiful outdoors and taking advantage of all the hot springs in the Kootenays.

December 2022