Salish Sea Seaweeds: Cross-cultural uses, benefits, risks, and stories from two “Seaweed Sisters” Fairhaven Auditorium Wednesday 11:30-12:50

On a rocky beach Jennifer smiles while a breeze gently blows her hair back. Valerie Segrest- a woman stands in front of cedar tree.

Watch the VIDEO


A puzzling question raised in Tribal workshops led by Jennifer Hahn--Is Salish Sea seaweed safe to eat? — inspired her to immerse herself in a toxicology research project lasting six years. Working with a dream team--at the College of the Environment, The SeaDoc Society, Border Policy Research Institute, NOAA, Washington Department of Health, WA Department of Fish & Wildlife, University of California Davis, and 18 Tribes and First Nations who generously gave advisement and support—the first cross-border, cross-culture Seaweed toxicology study was born. Ms. Hahn will share stories behind the research, results, and her path to loving and protecting seaweeds. Valerie Segrest, an enrolled member of the Muckleshoot Tribe, with an extensive background in traditional foods and medicines, and co-founder of Tahoma Peak Solutions—a native woman-owned firm that provides services including Food Sovereignty Assessments that help Tribes and organizations across the country build more resilient food systems and Indigenous Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work--will share more about her vital work and passions. Ms. Segrest and Ms. Hahn are dear friends who worked together to gather “scientific samples” at two of 43 beaches for the Salish Sea seaweed study. They collaborated to shape more useful research results materials for sharing with the Muckleshoot Tribal community. The “seaweed sisters” enjoy any chance to harvest seaweed together and share their seaweed knowledge. 

Speaker Name

Jennifer Hahn & Valerie Segrest




Speaker Bio

Jennifer Hahn recently completed graduate research at WWU’s The College of the Environment and co-authored an article in an international open-access journal, “PLOS ONE” titled: Chemical contaminant levels in edible seaweeds of the Salish Sea and implications for their consumption. Her seaweed research embodied a collaborative, community-based, cross-border approach. Its success relied on a “remarkable village” of community scientists and 18 Salish Sea First Nations in British Columbia and Tribes in Washington who provided access to beaches and support. Ms. Hahn is also a teaching professor at WWU’s Fairhaven College. She leads seaweed workshops for Salish Sea Tribes and The North Cascade Institute, writes, and works as a wilderness guide/naturalist. Ms. Hahn acknowledges she occupies unceded, ancestral, and stolen homelands of the Lhaq'temish The Lummi Nation, and the Nooksack Indian Tribe. As a white settler, Ms. Hahn hopes to build relationships with others who want to reflect on our collective responsibility to address inequities and work towards social justice and Indigenous human rights.

Valerie Segrest is an enrolled member of the Muckleshoot Tribe and Co-founder of Tahoma Peak Solutions. Ms. Segrest has dedicated her work in the field of Nutrition and Human Health Science towards the efforts of the food sovereignty movement and catalyzing food security strategies rooted in education, awareness, and overcoming barriers to accessing traditional foods for Tribal communities throughout North America. By utilizing a community-based participatory research approach she has worked to organize tribal community members in grassroots efforts towards strengthening sustainable food systems that are culturally relevant and nutritionally appropriate. Ms. Segrest earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition and Health Sciences from Bastyr University and her Masters of Arts Degree in Environment and Community from Antioch University. She writes extensively and is currently enrolled at the University of Washington in the Ph.D. program at the College of Built Environment. Ms. Segrest also served as the first Indigenous Judge in an eight-part-series reality show: Chef vs. Wild.