New OWC restora­tion spe­cial­ist anx­ious to get projects done

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Oldman Watershed Council - BY HEATHER CAMERON

Elaine Kennedy has only been the Restora­tion Spe­cial­ist on the Old­man Water­shed Coun­cil (OWC) for a few months, but she is ea­ger to get her feet wet.

“As the Restora­tion Spe­cial­ist, I’ll be in charge of plan­ning and im­ple­ment­ing ri­par­ian restora­tion events in the head­wa­ters of the Old­man River water­shed, put on both by the OWC and our part­ners, such as cows and fish,” Kennedy said. “Th­ese gen­er­ally in­volve ero­sion con­trol, plant­ing wil­lows and trees, and in­stalling sig­nage to ed­u­cate trail users about the im­por­tant of ri­par­ian restora­tion and en­cour­age them to stay off the restora­tion area. Work­ing for the OWC so far has been ex­cel­lent, the or­ga­ni­za­tion is ex­tremely wel­com­ing and full of great peo­ple who are all pas­sion­ate about pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.”

Kennedy, 27, is orig­i­nally from Water­loo, On­tario. She grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Guelph in 2014 and has trav­eled around western Canada, the north­ern ter­ri­to­ries, and the US for work, for vol­un­teer po­si­tions, and for fun.

Kennedy's big­gest in­ter­ests in­clude con­ser­va­tion, plant ecol­ogy, min­i­mal­ism, rock climb­ing, camp­ing, and hik­ing with her dog, Clover.

Prior to work­ing for the OWC, Kennedy has worked in pri­vate con­sult­ing in­dus­try do­ing range man­age­ment and veg­e­ta­tion ecol­ogy work,. Kennedy has also worked with the Al­berta Bio­di­ver­sity Mon­i­tor­ing In­sti­tute as a field tech­ni­cian; the Cana­dian Wildlife Ser­vice as a pro­tected ar­eas tech­ni­cian, and the Saskatchewan Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment as a GIS an­a­lyst.

Kennedy was long-term vol­un­teer as well in­clud­ing some for the CWS at the Queen Maude Mi­gra­tory Bird Sanc­tu­ary in Nu­navut; there was a limited food supply and the site was only ac­ces­si­ble by he­li­copter.

“I live for field work!” Kennedy said. “The more field work the bet­ter; I’m much hap­pier in the moun­tains than in an of­fice, and if I can be out there plant­ing wil­lows, seed­ing na­tive grasses and help­ing a dis­turbed ecosys­tem re­cover to a healthy state, even bet­ter.”

Kennedy was drawn to the Old­man Water­shed Coun­cil be­cause of their long, in­spir­ing his­tory of con­ser­va­tion in the area; their in­volve­ment in the com­mu­nity and work to in­volve pub­lic in their de­ci­sions and ac­tiv­i­ties; and their un­bi­ased stance and use of sci­ence­based ev­i­dence to sup­port their work. The Coun­cil, Kennedy says, also sets clear goals and have pro­grams and projects in place to ac­com­plish those goals in­stead of just dis­cussing them.

“I’m very ex­cited to get some restora­tion projects un­der­way and get my hands dirty!” Kennedy said. “I'm also look­ing for­ward to get­ting to know the mem­bers of the com­mu­nity bet­ter and work to­gether on some of th­ese projects; I’m sure there are a lot of en­thu­si­as­tic recre­ation­ists and con­ser­va­tion­ists out there who I would love to meet.”

Kennedy says that if any­one wants to know more about restora­tion in the Old­man water­shed, is look­ing for ad­vice or has ideas about their own restora­tion projects, or seek­ing vol­un­teer op­por­tu­ni­ties, that they should feel free to con­tact her at HYPERLINK "mailto:[email protected]­man water­shed.ca

ELAINE KENNEDY

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