Kids and parents take the Eco-Challenge

Press Release

Monica Nissen & class

Beyond Recycling students ‘tuned out’ at Earth Hour, working all month on Eco-Challenge

Columbia Basin, B.C. — Beyond Recycling students in nine classes at eight schools in the Kootenays are participating in a one-month Eco-Challenge to reduce their energy use and lower their impact on the Earth.

To mark the beginning of this Eco-Challenge—and of greener habits—they marked Earth Hour last Saturday, March 31, at 8:30 pm. That means they turned off the lights, unplugged the computers and experienced life without the buzz of all that electricity. Now, they plan to go ‘beyond Earth Hour.’

“Students have been studying and debating as part of the Beyond Recycling curriculum,” said Monica Nissen, Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling program manager. “They’re excited to see how they can reduce energy use in their own homes, how they can create less waste to go to landfills, and how they can support local food producers.”

The Beyond Recycling blog is a flurry of activity, as students from Jaffray to Blewett have posted short articles on what they’re learning in Beyond Recycling and why it’s important to them.

“I liked this lesson today because it taught us what we can do to prevent climate change,” wrote Kacie, a Grade 6 student at Twin Rivers Elementary in Castlegar.

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Nissen hopes parents of Beyond Recycling students will help conduct home energy and waste audits.

“The kids know how to do the audits,” Nissen said, “but the parents know where the natural gas and electricity bills are, and have a better idea of how much garbage and recycling their families have each week.”

Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling education program works with partners at FortisBC and the RDCK to deliver Beyond Recycling to different classes around the Columbia Basin every year. It’s a 20-week curriculum that covers a lot of ground. In the Nelson area, students at Blewett Elementary School, Trafalgar Middle School and Brent Kennedy Elementary School are participating this year.

“When you add it all up,” Nissen said, “figures show if everyone on the planet lived like North Americans, we’d need more than five more planets to meet everyone’s needs.”

“Kids grasp how untenable this is. They want to do something about it. And they can—but it really helps to have their parents on side.

“Let yourself be inspired by your child’s commitment to action,” Nissen said. “And have a great Eco-Challenge—and beyond.”

New Owners for Mall Medical Clinic

Press Release by Peggy Aitken and Paul Lamoureux

Good News! The Kootenay Lake Medical Clini will stay open in its current location, under new ownership. As the new owners – Peggy Aitken (Clinic Manager) and husband Paul Lamoureux (Recruiting and Marketing) – we are hoping for continued community support in keeping this very vital service open for a long time! Established in 1998 by Dr. Dale and his wife Diana Haschke, this clinic provides an invaluable service not just to Nelson, but the entire West Kootenays.The Kootenay Lake Medical Clinic is currently the only Medical Practice that sees patients 7 days a week, without appointments. It is the only true Walk-In Clinic in all of the West and East Kootenays. KLMC is a unique mixture of dedicated family practice and urgent care medicine.

There are many patients that KLMC has been following for nearly 14 years continuously and who consider the KLMC physicians as their primary caregiver.The current owners have done an amazing job in challenging times, keeping the clinic staffed with (as Ms. Cheshire points out in her Feb.29 Letter to the Editor) “very friendly receptionists, unrushed, caring and concerned medical staff” all in a “pleasant atmosphere, great location?”

We will become the new owners officially as of April 1 and it is critical, in terms of keeping the clinic open 7 days a week, to find doctors who want to work and live in Nelson. Our first priority will be to continue with the incredible job Dr. Dale and Diana have done recruiting doctors. This will be an ongoing task that we are asking you, our friends and family, and the community to help us with.

Word of mouth is an amazing thing!

If you have a family member, a friend, a co-worker that is a doctor, or is acquainted with a doctor who might be interested in relocating to Nelson, please put them in touch with us ASAP. We have 2 guaranteed full time positions (35 hours per week) available immediately! A physician with a BC or other Canadian Provincial license would be the best immediate hire, but we are working towards being able to hire International Medical Doctors again, in the very near future.

250 352 6442 
or email

We are also looking for any locums or other doctors (i.e. ER, Semi-retired) already working in the Kootenays, that may want to put in a Saturday or Sunday at the Clinic (so they can ski/play mid week).

Red Tape Turning Away BC Docs

Rachel MacDonald (left) at the UVic Human Anatomy lab

By: Drew Thompson

Around the world, more than 500 talented young British Columbians, including Rachel MacDonald of Nelson, are studying at fully accredited medical schools in places such as Britain, Ireland and Australia. But unless bureaucratic hurdles are removed, they will not have the chance to come home and become part of British Columbia’s health care system.

Each year, 80 to 100 young British Columbians graduate from excellent medical schools outside North America, with dreams of returning home to BC to become doctors and serve their communities. Unfortunately, in the past five years, very few of them have returned to train here due to Provincial government policies that discriminate against them.

And despite having a health care system that faces a critical shortage of doctors, long surgery wait times, emergency room closures and compromised patient care, the government is standing by those policies and choosing instead to not accept these trained BC doctors who have saved the government of BC millions of dollars by paying for their own education. They should be welcomed with open arms.

Each year, many students apply to enter the University of British Columbia’s medical school, the school which trains doctors on behalf of the Province of BC. With just under 300 spots available, many BC students choose to attend medical school abroad, in countries like Britain, Ireland and Australia.

Once they graduate, to become doctors, medical school graduates must complete two to six years of post-graduate training in teaching facilities across the province, also administered by UBC. The Ministry of Health reserves nearly 300 of these apprentice positions, known as residencies, for Canadians and Americans who graduated from North American medical schools.

Students from BC who graduated from foreign medical schools can only compete for a residency here by first winning a spot in UBC’s International Medical Graduates program, a program tailored mainly for immigrants. And once successfully completed, this route provides access to only 26 spots. In addition, exams to qualify for these positions are only offered long after the regular residency positions have been given out.

While this program is an important one for immigrant doctors coming to BC, it fails BC graduates from foreign schools and forces them to choose between waiting an extra year, in hopes of maybe landing a restricted residency here, or working immediately in another jurisdiction. The reality is, we know of no British Columbian graduates from abroad who have been accepted and graduated from this program.

Despite annual throne speech promises to address the problem, nothing has been done. Instead, the Province is continuing to actively recruit foreign-born doctors who graduated from the very same schools our students from BC attended, as well as doctors from countries that face their own physician shortages.

According to Dr. Drew Thompson, a cardiac surgeon at Vancouver General Hospital and President of the Society for Canadian Students Studying Medicine Abroad, the simple and virtually cost-free solution is to offer qualifying exams more often or earlier, increase residency positions, or let British Columbians who studied abroad compete for UBC training residencies at the same time as graduates from North American schools.

“These young British Columbians want to come home and practice medicine in BC,” says Thompson. “All they’re asking for is to compete on a level playing field for residency positions. With hundreds of BC physicians set to retire in the next few years, the discriminatory policies that treat BC graduates from foreign medical schools as second class citizens must stop now.”

The good news is that, while their home province is turning them away, other provinces, US states and countries around the world are eagerly recruiting them.

At the latest Union of BC Municipalities convention, mayors from across BC said they were prepared to commit financial support to help fund the cost of residencies so British Columbians could come back home to train and work in their communities.

When British Columbians consider the state of their financially unsustainable health care system, Dr. Thompson says the question they should ask their MLAs, the Minister of Health, the Premier and the University of British Columbia, is not “Why don’t we have enough doctors?” but “Why won’t you let our children come home to become doctors in the communities that need them?”

The Society for Canadians Studying Medicine Abroad (SOCSMA) is a group of parents, families and supporters of BC students studying medicine abroad.

Drew Thompson is the President of The Society for Canadians Studying Medicine Abroad (SOCSMA)

Stay Healthy at the Office

Posted originally in Yoga.Inthekoots by Anie Boudreau

Photo source: lululemon athletica, Flickr, Creative Commons

Do you spend most of your work week sitting at a desk?

You might want to check out these stats posted on MindBodyGreen Sitting Is Killing You:

Sitting 6+ hours per day makes you up to 40% likelier to die within 15 years than someone who sits less than 3. Even if you exercise.

Sitting makes us fat: obese people sit for 2.5 more hours per day than thin people.

For more stats check out the full post here

On a brighter note…Here’s some awesome news for you: working doesn’t have to kill you! All you need is a little awareness.

There’s a great new Yoga & Nutrition workshop, “Stay Healthy at the Office”, being offered here in Nelson this March. The perfect place to gain that  little awareness you may need.

Topics will include:

Practical nutrition tips such as: how to pack a holistic lunch, healthy lighting, simple aromatherapy, using green house plants to clean the air and how to resist staff room snack temptations.

Simple yoga exercises such as: chair Yoga posture sequence, spine warm-ups, hip- openers, shoulder stretches, simple breathing and meditation techniques for stress management.

A balanced diet and conscience lifestyle, will ultimately benefit your health regardless of what your work may be.

The workshop is hosted by Mountain Waters Spa, 205 Victoria St. Nelson, on Saturday March 3rd from 2pm to 5pm. The cost is $40 . Go to our event page for more info.


First Aid for Opioid Overdose: Let’s do this!

Some of our readers who access the ANKORS Needle Exchange may have been aware of or taken part in a recent survey. The survey was administered on behalf of the BC Center for Disease Control (BCCDC). It was meant to discover baselines around drug use, by region. The regions involved were: Prince George, Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, and the East and West Kootenay and Boundary areas. Our region was included as a rural example.

The reason this baseline information was being collected was to show a need for overdose first aid programs, including the use of take-home Naloxone kits. Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a pharmaceutical drug, developed in the 1960′s which is an antidote for opioid overdose. In essence, it removes the opioid from the brain of the user, putting them in immediate withdrawal, and restoring depressed body functions such as breathing and heart rate.

Naloxone has been used for decades in hospitals when prescribed opioids caused overdose in emergency and operating rooms. It is extremely effective and is a life saving intervention for individuals who experience opioid overdose.

ANKORS and the BCCDC are working toward being able to provide first aid training for opioid overdose. Work is being done to increase the availability of Naloxone, since currently it is a prescription medication. Many people who use opioids, other than as prescribed by their doctor, have difficulty accessing a physician. Furthermore, physician perspectives on prescribing Naloxone for opioid users impact how the medication is prescribed. Some healthcare and harm reduction activists feel that prescriptions of Naloxone (and training on how to use it) should accompany every single opioid prescription. As well, any individuals who identify as opioid users (for whatever reason) should be referred for Naloxone training and a take-home opioid first aid kit.

There are take-home Naloxone programs running in cities around the world. In Canada, Toronto and Edmonton are running such programs. In Edmonton, the training takes place on a drop in basis. As individuals access needle exchange services, they are encouraged to take the 20 minute opioid overdose first aid training and to take a Naloxone kit home with them to have on hand in case a fellow user overdoses in their presence. Also, they can show others how to use it, in case they overdose themselves.

For those concerned about the possibility that this training and access to Naloxone has the potential to enable opioid use, there are a few things to consider:

  1. The sudden withdrawal caused by treatment with Naloxone is highly uncomfortable. Anecdotal evidence shows that users are often sick, in pain, and very upset that their dose has been wasted- especially since financial barriers may mean that they can’t easily get more. Evidence also shows that education among users about OD and Naloxone means safer use practices meant to avoid having to go though this OD-Death or Naloxone cycle.
  2. Overdose and the administration of Naloxone is very stressful and can be traumatic for those who are around and actually do the Naloxone administration. There is very little time between the beginning of the OD and the start of brain damage due to depressed respiration. Those in the helping position have to be fast and efficient, willing to inject another person, call 911, and stick around with the person who overdosed, to wait for help to arrive. It isn’t easy and it isn’t fun, especially when the user is sick, in pain, and desperate to feel better-despite the fact that they almost just died.
  3. Naloxone truly is a life saving intervention. To limit the availability of this training along with access to take home Naloxone kits means that society values the lives of users less than they value people in hospitals who are given opioids for medical reasons. Opioid first aid training and access to Naloxone kits means that we value the lives of users and that we don’t expect them and their loved ones to accept death as the inevitable outcome of the illness of addiction.
Our first training will be with ANKORS staff in March, followed by 3rd year Nursing Students at Selkirk College. We hope to be able to provide prescriptions for Naloxone as well as access to take-home kits in the very near future. This is a very exciting initiative that has life-saving potential in our area. We appreciate any comments or questions that readers of the blog have, and look forward to integrating this training in our fixed and mobile needle exchange services.

No-Barfing Eight-Minute Ab Routine

So Brad asked me if I could design an ab routine for him which would not make him puke.

Why are abs important? He saw our chinese medicine doctor two days ago and she told him that if you don’t have a strong core, your other, smaller muscles will attempt to compesate – this will create stress in those places. So, without further a-do:

No-Barfing Eight-Minute Ab Routine

If you don’t have, or don’t want to use the interval timer (free to download onto your computer), just try to do the same number of reps as me, moving onto the next exercise with no more than a ten second rest in between exercises.

Okay – Give’er!!!!!! No barfing!!!!!!


  • 10 second rest
  • 50 seconds (or 6 reps): 3 Point Jump and 1 Pushup
  • 50 SECONDS (or 24 reps): Circle Abs
  • 50 SECONDS (or 21 reps): 3 Point Crunches with ball or without
  • 50 SECONDS (or 9 reps): Ball Pass


There’s a 4 minute routine for ya. Run through this twice and you’ve got Eight!


Exercise Explanations

3 Point Jump and 1 Pushup - Instructions: Get into plank position, wrists below shoulders with creases lining up straight across. Jump your feet in towards your hands (don’t lift your hands off the floor). Jump back. Jump diagonally forward to one side. Jump back. Jump diagonally forward to the other side. Jump back. Do 1 Pushup. Repeat! (I count each time I get to do a pushup as 1 rep)

*Beginners Variation: Do the pushup with your knees on the floor. Omit the jumping altogether if needed.

Circle Abs - Instructions: Sit on yer bum on the floor, with your feet an inch or two above the ground. Hands on the floor below your shoulders, fingers pointing towards your feet a couple of inches away from your bum, wrists creases should line up). The action – try to trace a circle in the air above the ground with your feet. Alternate between clockwise and counterclockwise circles. (I count each circle as 1 rep)

*BV: Rest your feet on the ground between circles

3 point Crunches with ball or without – Sit up half-way to the front, then to the left side, then to the right side. Repeat. (1 count each time I go up to be 1 rep)

Ball Pass - Lie on your back on the ground and pass an exercise ball from your hands to your feet by lifting your shoulder blades and your legs off of the ground. Keep your abs tight and your lower back pressed into the mat. If you don’t have a ball you can use any light weighted thingy that you can squeeze between your feet without too much difficulty :P (I count 1 rep each time the ball comes back into my hands)

*BV: Do not pass anything between your feet and legs, only pretend to, or do leg drops (same motion with feet together, no arms)

 Image taken from

Parenting as a Spiritual Practice

Parenting Workshop Feb. 2012 Nelson – posterPress Release:

A two-day course on applying an integral perspective to the early years of 
a child’s life: Doing the Work, Discovering the Ease!

We will explore, learn about, and practice:

  • Meeting our whole child—a being made of body, mind, soul, and spirit.
  • Understanding our child’s unique stage of development, strengths & growing edges, and type, so that we neither expect too much nor too little, and can parent in alignment with who our child is (and is becoming!).
  • How parenting is intimately connected with who we are, and therefore dependent on our own growth and consciousness.
  • Riding paradoxes, for example, offering our child unconditional love andproviding direction, guidance, and at times very clear boundaries and correction.
  • Parenting within an evolutionary context—lifting the bar of what parenting can be by bringing evermore consciousness to the task, whilst not creating more self-doubt or stress about our ability and capacity to parent.
  • Navigating the interface between our own family culture and that of the world at large with grace and clarity.

What else might you like to know about this course…?

** It is made up of experiential, explorative, practical and theoretical components.

** This course is at least as much about you as a parent as it is about your child. The shifts in perspectives, the work and growth we suggest and teach are pretty much all directed at you… You and I and all of us growing up (and waking up) in order to help our children grow up.

** This workshop is practical and useful. Especially in the realm of parenting it all comes down to the actual practice – what you think and intend is a first, very important step; who you are, how you show up, and what you do, however, is what really makes the difference for your child.

** We will share the underlying principles and overarching perspectives at work in an integral approach to parenting. A shift in perspective holds much more weight and resilience in the face of ever-changing situations and conditions, than if we simply offer you numerous concrete suggestions that may or may not fit your particular circumstance and child. As you understand, integrate, and then make use of them, you will be better equipped and able to find your own solutions and responses to the many circumstances you will encounter on a daily basis.

** Because of our emphasis on the inner work of the parent, and the underlying principles/practices of integral parenting, this course will be applicable to your journey as a parent whether your child/children are new-born, six years old or twelve… However, our general focus in on laying a solid foundation during the early years of a child’s life. Pregnant parents and those considering becoming parents are very welcome too!

Past participants share their experiences of taking this course >>

Main course facilitator: Miriam Mason Martineau is a mother. She holds an M.A. in Psychology from the University of Zurich,with specialization in Youth and Child Psychology, and has been working in private practice as an integral therapeutic counselor since 1993. She is presently writing a book on Integral Parenting and is passionately interested in parenting as a spiritual path – both in theory and in practice – a humbling and delightful adventure it is! She is vice-president of Next Step Integral, an international organization that brings an integral perspective to ecology, education, parenting and community. She lives in Winlaw, BC, with her husband, Stephan and their 8-year old daughter, Adonia.

Course for people with breathing problems

PRESS RELEASE from Jessica DeMars

For someone suffering from COPD, breathing is all that matters.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a respiratory disease where the breathing tubes (airways) into the lungs become swollen and partially blocked, making breathing difficult.

Photo source: Spec-ta-cles, Flickr, Creative Commons.

It is characterized by shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, mucus production and fatigue. It is a long-term disease that gets worse over time. COPD also includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis; it affects 750,000 Canadians and is on the rise here and around the world. In the Nelson health region, statistics indicate that 5.5 per cent of the population has been diagnosed with COPD roughly 1,375 people (asthma is at eight per cent).

This fall, the multi-disciplinary program Breathing Matters for COPD returns to Nelson. Participants will attend four 90-minute sessions where they will learn information for managing their disease including medication management (information delivered by a pharmacist), breathing techniques and exercises to manage symptoms and flare ups (physiotherapy) and dietary considerations (holistic nutritionist). This program is also suitable for anyone diagnosed with asthma.

Classes will be held at the Community First Health Centre and start October 12th.

The cost is $40 for the four weeks.

For more information or to register, please contact Jessica at 250-352-1722.

New retinal specialists hold hours at hospital

PRESS RELEASE from Interior Health

Interior Health is pleased to announce a new eye clinic at Kootenay Lake Hospital to serve all residents of the Kootenay Boundary who have the wet form of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). The services will be provided by visiting retinal specialists through the Provincial AMD Treatment Program.

A retina. Photo source: richardmasoner, Flickr, Creative Commons.

“Improving access to treatment is excellent news for residents in the Kootenay Boundary,” said Health Minister Michael de Jong. “Our government is committed to providing access to the greatest range of health services possible in the Kootenays and other rural areas of B.C.”

Wet AMD is a chronic disease of the retina of the eye, and affects the central vision of the sufferer. It can cause blindness and tends to affect people age 50 and over. Retinal specialists (ophthalmologists with additional training in diseases of the retina) treat wet AMD patients with either ranibizumab (Lucentis), bevacizumab (Avastin) or verteporfin (Visudyne) / Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT).

Interior Health has secured visiting retinal specialist services in the Kootenay Boundary which means patients here will no longer have to travel to clinics in Cranbrook or Kelowna for wet AMD treatments that are covered by the province.

In addition to wet AMD treatments, visiting retinal specialists will perform cataract surgeries in Nelson, supporting the overall access to cataract surgeries in the region. Cataract surgeries are also performed at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail.

“There are few things more important to maintaining our independence as we age than our eyesight. I’m pleased Interior Health is bringing specialists to Kootenay Boundary, improving access to provincially-covered treatment for this condition,” said Norman Embree, IH Board Chair.

Visiting retinal specialists will start seeing patients at Kootenay Lake Hospital at the end of July. Patients who currently receive their wet AMD treatment outside Kootenay Boundary should discuss getting a referral to the new Nelson-based program with their optometrist or family doctor.

“I’m very pleased the visiting retinal specialists are supporting the skilled group of clinicians we already have in place and thereby expanding the network of eye care services available across the Kootenay Boundary,” said Ingrid Hampf, Acute Area Director for Kootenay Boundary.

Before the Province announced a Provincial wet AMD program in June of 2009, patients had to cover the cost of the drug out-of-pocket. Only Visudyne was previously covered by the Province.

More information on the provincial program is on the Ministry of Health website.