New OWC restoration specialist anxious to get projects done
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