Though the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition concluded its two decades of work in 2014, here are a few of the organization’s many key achievements:
* The Spirit Bear Youth Coalition was built from scratch and brought together a coalition of more than six million supporters in 87 countries, including diverse support domestically that bridged political, geographic, ethnic and ideological divides.
* Helped bring an obscure issue to the forefront of the public eye, designing a communication plan that created broad awareness amongst 500 million plus people, based on ratings/readership/hits.
* Created a grassroots outreach campaign that engaged and retained the interest of the public, leading the issue to become the most supported conservation initiative in Canadian history, receiving 92% support in BC, and having Time magazine recognize it as one of the most pressing global environmental debates.
* Developed and implemented multiple strategic plans that helped navigate the issue through challenging political waters, ultimately helping the organization reach its stated goal of protecting the habitat of the spirit bear.
* Led diverse programs and projects – including education, outreach and engagement tools – that ensured membership retention, meaningful community engagement and sustained brand recognition.
* Executed numerous successful and financially viable public events, including a 2500 person fundraising celebration with Dr. Jane Goodall and former BC Premier Gordon Campbell, as well as three national speaking tours, the latter of which directly reached 100,000 students in three months.
* Established multiple, lasting partnerships with non-profit organizations and businesses that allowed the Youth Coalition to increase efficiency, develop capacity and encourage strategic convergence, facilitating the growth and reach of the organization and its mandate.
* Proposed and successfully led the campaign to see the spirit bear named as one of the mascots for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver and secured the spirit bear as the Official Mammal of BC.
* Maintained a positive public image during a contentious time for environmental issues in Canada and was able to grow the larger base of support for the environment, using pro-economic and solution-based messaging.
* Demonstrated the ability to facilitate negotiations between diverse stakeholders in helping lead talks that created one of the first consensus land-use agreements in history and the largest land protection measure in North America.
* The story inspired CTV’s award-winning, movie-of-the-week Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story.
Awards & Recognitions
For Simon’s efforts to save the spirit bear and build the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, he has received numerous honours. The following is a partial list of his awards and recognitions:
* Time Magazine’s Sixty Heroes for the Planet
* UNESCO & Founding Green Games Congress 100 Guardian Angels of the Planet
* Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
* Explore Magazine’s Top Green Leader
* MacLean’s Magazine’s Top 25 Canadian Up and Comers
* Province of British Columbia’s Community Achievement Award
* Roger Hammill Award for Environmental Education
* Fellow, International League of Conservation Writers
* Institute for Ethical Leadership’s Ethical Leadership Award
* YTV Achievement Award
* CTV/Banff Mountain Film Festival Award for Environmental Stewardship
* TD Canada Trust Scholarship for Outstanding Community Service
* The Vancouver Province’s Top 25 British Columbian Up and Comers
* Explore Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30
* Government of Canada’s Canada Day Youth Award
* Van City Credit Union Individual Youth Service Award
* Community Care Foundation Youth Award
* Jonovision’s Jonovisionary Award
* International Wildlife Film Festival Award for Best Education Film
* International Wildlife Film Festival Award for Best Film in the Youth Category
* The Vancouver Sun’s Top 100 Canadians
* The Vancouver Sun’s 10 Most Inspiring People of the Decade: 2001-2010
Spirit Bear Movie
Simon Jackson’s life work is the inspiration for the award winning and internationally televised movie, Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story.
An Olympic Bear
Through the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, Simon Jackson was instrumental in having the spirit bear named as the mascot for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver (including being prominently featured in the opening ceremony of the 2010 Games) and the Official Mammal of British Columbia. The goal behind the high profile recognitions was to help cultivate the eco-tourism industry in the land of the spirit bear, helping off-set the costs associated with protecting this bears’ wilderness home.
Read Simon’s farewell speech for the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition.