The Year Ahead: Water Literacy Program Highlights

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In partnership with Swim Drink Fish Canada, the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper’s has this year’s water literacy programs well underway. Our new Water Literacy Manager, Hans Asfeldt, is leading the programs and of the many engagements he will pursue this year here are some key highlights.

 

Water quality monitoring program set to launch this July

In the coming weeks, Edmontonians will for the first time be able to access ongoing recreational water quality information about the North Sasakatchewan River throughout the summer. The program is now in its final stages of development and is set to begin this July. While there is a variety of water quality monitoring conducted by utility providers and government agencies, there is currently no monitoring of the river that specifically supports recreational access.

With the aim to promote river recreation in the Edmonton area, weekly testing for bacterial indicators will be conducted near Sir Wilfred Laurier Park and Capilano Park boat launches. Water quality information will be made available to the public on an ongoing basis through the Swim Guide platform, an interactive tool and smartphone app developed by Swim Drink Fish Canada. The program is designed both to promote and encourage recreational activities on the North Saskatchewan River and to ensure that users know when it’s safe to be in the water.

Keep posted for more details about the monitoring program in the coming weeks! In the meantime, download our Swim Guide app to find a beach near you and view the latest water quality updates.

 

Swim Guide tool used by more and more Albertans

Since 2011, Swim Guide has remained the single most comprehensive beach water quality service in Canada and its global reach continues to extend throughout the United States, Baja Mexico, and New Zealand. Of all jurisdictions in which Swim Guide operates, Alberta boasts the second highest level of engagement. While there are many contributing factors, this is partly a reflection of the love we have for our lakes. It also indicates a widespread interest and demand for water quality information. Lastly, it is a reminder that water quality problems remain a real challenge in Alberta and there is a need for ongoing advocacy and conservation efforts.

Historically, North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper has been heavily involved in promoting awareness of water quality issues in Alberta’s lakes and given trends that indicate increasing levels of public engagement about beach water quality, we will continue to direct much of our work toward better access to water quality information, more widely implemented monitoring programs, and above all, the protection of our lakes and rivers so that the number of water advisories decreases over the long term.

Look for an upcoming blog post that will explore the effects of climate change on lake water quality, algal blooms, and beach closures.

 

Watershed Education will engage Edmonton area highschool students

North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper is expanding its water literacy program to work directly with high school students and youth in the Edmonton region. We envision a watershed where everyone knows the source of their drinking water and where everyone has a voice in decisions that impact our water bodies. Our youth education program is designed to strengthen the connections between our river and the youth in our community – both of which are essential for a prosperous future.

Classroom engagement will begin in September with the new school year and additional literacy events will be hosted in the community throughout the year. If you are a teacher or a member of a community organisation and are interested in working with the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper to host a watershed literacy seminar or workshop we would love to hear from you!

 

Watermark Project celebrates stories from the North Saskatchewan River Basin

Everyone has story about water. What’s yours?

Developed by our partner, Swim Drink Fish Canada, the Watermark Project is a national database that documents Canadians’ stories about water. By sharing “watermarks”, Canadians from across the country can register a precious waterbody and tell their stories about why it’s worth protecting. There are many watermarks in the North Saskatchewan River Basin and with a number of them collected already, we look forward to hearing more stories over the coming year. Click here to read and watch the watermarks that your fellow watershed stewards have contributed and consider submitting one of your own!

 

North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper welcomes new manager of Water Literacy!

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The North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper, in partnership with Swim Drink Fish Canada, is pleased to announce the debut of our new manager of Water Literacy, Hans Asfeldt!

Hans brings to the role a wealth of experience and leadership on key environmental issues in the Prairie region. With a background in environmental science and political science at the University of Alberta, Hans is ideally positioned to coordinate a diverse range of programs that have evolved since our founding in 2009 and has already made great strides on our new initiatives since stepping into the office on June 1st.

Over the past five years, Hans devoted himself to the development of an inter-disciplinary research initiative at the U of A’s Chester Ronning Centre that investigated the complex challenges of Alberta’s oil and gas economy. As part of his work on energy development in communities across the province, Hans acquired valuable experience as a field researcher and refined a strong set of project management skills that have helped him champion a number of innovative research and engagement projects. Most recently, Hans piloted a community-based research program at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary that empowered undergraduate students to enhance their classroom learning by directly engaging with knowledge leaders and stakeholders from the field around challenging energy and environment issues. Hans has also produced a series of documentary films about the relationships between land, water, energy, and communities.

With roots in Athabasca and an education earned in Camrose, Hans has always maintained close ties with the creeks and rivers in his backyard. As a professional wilderness canoe guide, Hans is well acquainted with the North Saskatchewan River right from its headwaters. Over the past two years from his home in Edmonton, Hans has also come to love running in the Whitemud Creek Ravine. During his university years, Hans trained as a competitive cross-country runner and skier and together with his paddling ambitions, Hans is an avid outdoors enthusiast. Hans’ appreciation for the diverse urban and rural landscapes of the North Saskatchewan River Basin provides a basis for his view that by working together, we can reclaim and protect pristine waters for generations to come.

“It’s a real honour to join the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper as manager of Water Literacy,” says Hans. “I am far from alone in my love for the river and it is a privilege to work alongside such a rich and vibrant community of watershed stewards from across the province.”

Hans will be out on the river regularly to monitor water quality and he will be engaging the community frequently through our education and advocacy programs as well as through our website, Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to reach Hans directly, please contact him here.

Congratulations, Hans, and welcome to the team.

JOB OPPORTUNITY: Full-time Water Literacy Coordinator

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North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper in partnership with Swim Drink Fish Canada is seeking a Water Literacy coordinator for a full-time contract to help develop and launch a water awareness and community engagement program in Edmonton.

This position is a perfect opportunity for someone passionate about protecting Edmonton-area waters and eager to engage with the community. We are looking for a motivated individual with knowledge of basic water literacy concepts (watershed, drinking water quality, swimming and boat access locations, plants and animals in the watershed, etc.) and excellent communications skills.

The Water Literacy Coordinator will work with the Swim Drink Fish Canada teams (based in Toronto and Vancouver) to develop and deliver online and in-person educational messages, presentations and resources that will help Edmonton-area residents better understand the watershed they live in. Ultimately, the Coordinator will help to inspire thousands of people in the Edmonton area to become stewards of swimmable, drinkable, fishable waters.

Responsibilities and Project Timeline

You will oversee the organization’s main program on a full-time basis, including:

In Stage 1 (April – mid-May), the Coordinator will familiarize themselves with all swimming and recreational water access points in the Saskatchewan River watershed and update Swim Guide locations and monitoring information for the 2017 summer season (www.theswimguide.org). The Coordinator will also identify key recreational water access points in Edmonton and establish a water quality monitoring program to test for bacteria pollution.

In Stage 2 (mid-May – June), the Coordinator will launch the water quality sampling program and begin regular Swim Guide updates as regions come online for the summer. The Coordinator will develop a water literacy presentation that describes the Saskatchewan River watershed, its environmental and social history, its current uses, its ecological health, and current issues of interest to the public. Using available resources, the Coordinator will familiarize themselves with the swimmability, drinkability, and fishability of the region. By this stage, the Coordinator will begin collecting Watermark stories from members of the community (www.watermarkproject.ca).

In Stage 3 (July – August), the Coordinator will manage the water quality monitoring program, recruit volunteers to assist as necessary, and build the collection of Watermark stories in the Edmonton community. During this stage, the Coordinator will begin booking water literacy presentations for the fall. Most presentations will be geared towards youth in the Edmonton area.

In Stage 4 (September – March), the Water Literacy Coordinator will engage the community in water literacy activities and build Watermark collections that document knowledge and perspectives in the community.

In Stage 5, the Coordinator will report on the project’s impact and develop a strategy and recommendations for the next phase of the project.

Throughout the project, the Water Literacy Coordinator will be responsible for curating and publishing Watermarks to the Watermark Project website (http://www.watermarkproject.ca), managing North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper’s social media presence, blogging regularly, sending email updates to Riverkeeper’s subscriber list, reporting on project impact to the Board of Directors and to the project funds (RBC and TELUS), and helping to secure additional grant and individual donor support for water literacy work in Edmonton.

Required skills and experience

  • A strong understanding of Alberta’s ecosystems with an emphasis on the Saskatchewan River (knowledge of other major Canadian watersheds is also an asset)
  • Enjoy spending time on the water and be able to act as an ambassador for an active, water-friendly lifestyle
  • Be familiar with WordPress, know how to post and edit content
  • Have some experience engaging the community through social media
  • Be detail-oriented, able to organize information and content
  • Have strong professional communications skills, capable of handling outreach to school organizations, media, board members, and other constituents
  • Familiarity with database systems such as Salesforce is desired, but not required
  • Be able to write effective emails and briefing notes for board and funders
  • Have a background in education or experience leading small groups/ teams
  • Have at least one year’s work experience in a nonprofit or educational setting
  • Bi-lingual preferred, but not required

Position Details

This is a full-time, contract position in Edmonton. The position is open now, and applications will be reviewed as they arrive.

Please send a cover letter ASAP to:
Krystyn Tully
℅ admin@waterkeeper.ca

In your cover letter, please state clearly why you believe you are a great candidate for this position and why you want to work for Swim Drink Fish Canada. Note: Cover letters are very important to us.

About Us

Founded in 2009, North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper’s mission is to restore, preserve, and protect the quality and biodiversity of our watershed through actions that inform and connect our community with the North Saskatchewan River. For more information, visit: http://saskriverkeeper.ca/.

Founded in 2001, Swim Drink Fish Canada is a growing charity working for a swimmable, drinkable, fishable future. Our programs bring together law, science, culture, and digital media in order to connect and empower people to restore polluted places, protect human health, and promote thriving natural spaces. For more information, visit: www.theswimguide.org and www.watermarkproject.ca.

Watermark with Britt Standen

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I’ve lived on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River since I was 7 years old. At the time, I didn’t realize how fortunate I was to grow up on such a unique property, so close to this amazing body of water that feeds the city of Edmonton.

My cousins and I spent countless hours swimming and canoeing in the river. My parents bought a ski boat and along with their friends, we would waterski, swim and picnic all summer long. My parents, with their gymnastics backgrounds, were quite often asked by the city of Edmonton to come downtown and put on waterski shows during festivals and events. In the winter, my father would clear a patch of the river so we could ice skate and we would also cross country ski along the banks for hours.

Now that my husband and I own the property and my kids are growing up here, we realize how lucky we are to be living on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. It has changed a lot since I was a child; now having walking trails, walking bridges, and boat launch sites for all Edmontonians to enjoy.

Nine years ago, my friend Karen Percy Lowe invited me to the Waterkeeper Alliance Gala in Banff and we both decided we needed to walk the talk. We have this amazing body of water; a glacier-fed river that flows east from the Canadian Rockies and, eventually, into the Hudson Bay. That is what prompted me to get involved and protect our drinking water. So, I became one of the founding members of North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper to help keep our waters swimmable, drinkable, and fishable.

Every day our family wakes up looking at the river and its surroundings and feel very blessed to live on such a beautiful body of water: The North Saskatchewan River.

 

Britt has always been closely connected to the North Saskatchewan River. Since the inception of North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper, Britt has been an advocate for swimmable, drinkable, fishable watershed. She is currently the Vice President and Treasurer of North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper. Today, Britt is the president and owner of Physique Fitness Stores, Alberta’s premier retailer of fitness equipment. She continues to nurture her connection to the river with her husband, Craig, and two children.

At tonight’s Waterkeeper Gala, Britt will be introduced as one of 12 Swim Drink Fish Ambassadors, community leaders who have demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to creating a future where every Canadian can swim, drink, and fish. Click here to learn more!

Check out Britt’s story on the Watermark Archive!

 

Riverkeeper to launch new water literacy program in Edmonton

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Doug Goss (centre) presents a cheque to Riverkeeper board members Britt Standen (l) and Karen Percy Lowe (r) to support water literacy work in Edmonton.
Doug Goss (centre) presents a cheque to Riverkeeper board members Britt Standen (l) and Karen Percy Lowe (r) to support water literacy work in Edmonton.

 

North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper is launching a new water literacy program in Edmonton. Beginning in spring 2017, a full-time coordinator at Riverkeeper will help local residents discover the watershed, find swimmable water, and document local water knowledge.

The coordinator is part of a water literacy network established by Swim Drink Fish Canada in 2017, with hubs in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto. The project is made possible by the Edmonton TELUS Community Board.

 

Watermark with Kevin Lowe

One of North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper’s directors, Kevin Lowe’s interest in clean water grew out of his original bond with the Shuswap Lake. As he became educated on everyday practices that were threatening our watersheds, Kevin felt a pull to take responsibility for stewardship of this lake and other waters. Along with his wife Karen, Kevin has developed a leadership role as a Canadian Trustee in the Waterkeeper Alliance. They have worked hard in collaboration with other Canadian waterkeepers to make the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper program a leader in the protection and preservation of our watershed.

As the President of Hockey Operations for the Edmonton Oilers and long-time resident of Edmonton, Kevin demonstrates commitment and dedication to making Edmonton a great city. Other endeavours include his support for fundraising efforts by the Stollery Children’s Hospital and leadership role with the Edmonton Oiler Community Foundation.

I grew up about an hour northwest of Montreal in the small city of Lachute, nestled in the foothills of the Laurentians, in Quebec’s cottage country. My family didn’t own a cottage back then; my father and uncles worked together running the family business and I think that sort of forced us to stick close to town during the summer months. But that never stopped us from loading the whole family up in our cars on hot, humid summer days and taking the 20 minute drive north to picnic at a place we used to called ‘Flat Rocks’. It was a spot where a stream (whose name escapes me now) flowed over a series of little waterfalls, forming small pools that were perfect for swimming. I’ll always remember the instant relief I felt jumping into those cool clean waters, and the great times we had together on the banks.

Now my family does have a cottage. It’s on Shuswap Lake in Southern B.C., where the summers are often scorching. On some of the hottest days, my wife and I would take our kids on hikes through Herald Provincial Park to Margaret Falls so we could all cool off in the spray from the waterfall. The comparison feels a bit funny now, but standing in the mists of that thundering waterfall with my kids would always bring me back to those days splashing around at the Flat Rocks with my family. I guess that’s probably why I care so much about safeguarding swimmable, drinkable, fishable water today; so everyone has a place to beat the heat and enjoy some good times with the people they love.

North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper is proud to be a part of the Watermark Project! To learn more about the Project and to check out Karen’s Watermark, visit the Watermark Project Archive.

To submit a Watermark of your own click here.

Sarah Harmer’s Great Lake Watermarks – Lake Erie

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It’s dark. I have driven overnight and arrived where the mouth of the Grand River meets the shallow north shore of Lake Erie. I am here to sing a song at a small sunrise wedding ceremony. I was given directions to this lighthouse, and I wait with my guitar on a gravel spit jutting into the water. I’m the first one to arrive but I’m not the only one awake. In the pre-dawn grey perch boats motor out from the harbour, their lights glowing as they pass. There’s a clatter of chains. I imagine anchors being hoisted, nets being hauled. I hear talk between the fishermen. Is it Portuguese? The sky slowly begins to lighten and a few silhouettes, wedding guests I hope, make their way down the path towards me.

Sarah Harmer is an award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter and activist.

Click here to check out this and Sarah’s other Great Lake Watermarks on the Watermark Project archive.

North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper is proud to be a part of the Watermark Project, preserving our national water heritage through storytelling. To submit a Watermark of your own click here.

Photo credit: Dustin Rabin

Creeks and Peaks: A Bow River Watermark with Ngaio Hotte

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Ngaio Hotte is a writer, resource economist and facilitator based in Vancouver, BC.

Over the summer of 2015, Ngaio embarked on a journey to cross the Canadian Prairies by canoe with her partner, Harry. This journey gave them a chance to witness incredible parts of our country and to learn new things about one another that they would carry into their marriage. It symbolized the beginning of a commitment to experiencing the world and learn together.

Here Ngaio shares her Watermark about a harrowing experience on the Bow River that, despite costing them their canoe and gear, failed to quash their spirit of adventure…

 

During the summer of 2015, my partner and I pursued a dream to travel across the Canadian Prairies by canoe. Our journey began on the outskirts of Lake Louise, near the headwaters of the Bow River, and finished near Brandon, Manitoba.. This journey gave us the chance to witness and experience incredible parts of Canada’s landscapes and waterways, and to learn new things about one another. It symbolized the beginning of a commitment to experiencing the world and learning together. The following is an excerpt from my accounts of our journey. The full highlights of this trip are captured on our travel blog, creeksandpeaks.com.

We knew when we started this trip that there would be highs and lows, but we never expected that they would come so early on. What a roller coaster this week has been.

We first put our paddles in the water at Lake Louise just over a week ago. From there, we had a leisurely float down the Bow River past Castle Junction to Johnston Creek canoe campground, then on to Banff the following day. The Banff townsite materialized suddenly, as if out of nowhere in the middle of the mountains. Our first portage of the trip, around Bow Falls, went smoothly, despite one of our water jugs rolling into the river and another being stolen from beside the pathway. From our map, we had expected to find a campground on the outskirts of town, but when we saw none we decided to paddle on to Bow River Campground just past Canmore. We followed the river along below the Three Sisters and Ha Ling Peak, illuminated in the twilight, and arrived at the campground just as night began to fall. The campground was full, but a friendly couple allowed us to squat on the edge of their site for the night.

We awoke the next morning expecting that our day would be occupied by a long, painful portage around the Bearspaw, Kananaskis and Horseshoe Dams. Fate had other plans.

We put into the water after a lazy breakfast and floated along, reaching a fork in the river about a kilometer downstream from the campsite. We agreed that the right side of the fork looked like the correct route to follow. We swung around toward the outside of the fork to avoid a fallen tree in the river; what we didn’t notice was that the current was carrying us toward another tree jutting out from the left side of the riverbank.

We paddled hard to avoid it, but not hard enough. The tree caught Harry in the stomach and stopped the boat dead. Realizing we were in trouble, Harry tipped backward out of the canoe, hoping that would free it. It didn’t.

The canoe had become trapped on another branch. Harry watched helplessly from the water as the boat slowly listed to one side and flipped over, dumping Abby, our dog, and I into the frigid water.

I bobbed to the surface and looked around for Abby, but couldn’t see her. I quickly realized that she must be trapped under the boat. Screaming to Harry, I frantically tried to grab the bow of the boat and drag it toward shore, but the boat was heavy and the current was strong. Harry, much taller than I, swam underneath the boat and found that he could reach the river bottom. Grabbing the gunnel of canoe, he pushed up hard and managed to flip the boat right-side up.

I watched Abby bob out from beneath the boat, looking scared but unhurt. Knowing that we needed to regain control of the canoe, I pushed myself up out of the water and back into the heeavy boat. That I was able to do this from the side, without the canoe tipping, speaks to how heavy the canoe was when fully loaded with our gear. Once in the canoe, however, I could see that our situation was about to become much worse: ahead of us was a large log jam, stretching most of the way across the river.

Seeing that Abby was unable to climb up out of the water on her own, Harry hoised her up onto a nearby log before swimming back toward me and the canoe. I tried to paddle away from the logs, but it was no use. Once again, the canoe became trapped against a log. This time, however, water began to rush in over the sides. As the canoe swamped, I fell out again and was carried downstream toward another part of the log jam. I remembered the advice I had learned about log jams during my training as a raft guide: approach feet first and then push yourself up and on top of the logs. Fortunately, I avoided any sharp branches and climbed out of the water unhurt. Harry was washed up onto the other side of the same log jam. Quickly but cautiously, we began removing what gear we could from the canoe and lifting it to safety on logs while the water rushed through the branches below. Once we had salvaged everything we could, Harry worked on trying to dislodge the canoe. With the current pushing hard against it, there was little he could do.

Once we realized that Harry would not be able to get the canoe unstuck on his own, we decided to call for help. We were trapped in the middle of the river, with freezing cold water flooding through the trees all around us. Luckily, the dry bag with our valuables, including my cell phone, had been accessible and we had strong cellular reception. I phoned 911 and was patched through to the dispatcher in Canmore, who contacted Alberta Public Safety in Kananaskis. Again, we were lucky, because we were able to change into dry clothes and keep warm while we waited. The rescue boat arrived in less than 30 minutes and plucked us all out of the dangerous situation.

We lost our canoe, tent and gear barrel, but we were lucky to make it out alive. We spent the next several days staying with friends in Calgary while we worked with locals, guides from Canadian Rockies Rafting and Canmore Fire Rescue to see if any more of our gear could be retrieved. Several people went out to the log jam but the water was still too high to get close enough to the canoe.

When we finally accepted that it could be a very long time before we got our canoe and the rest of our gear back, if ever, we began to collect borrowed and donated gear from some of the many people who offered to help us out. I started out feeling pretty low as we began the re-grouping effort. After all, this trip has been my dream for many years: this is not the way I had envisioned it unfolding. But as we met up with one person after another, their encouragement began to lift my spirits.

Finally, the night before we were scheduled to get back on the river, we made a trip to Mountain Equipment Co-op for some supplies. As I stood in the emergency supplies section, I looked up at a fellow who was entering the checkout line and was stuck with amazement: there, in front of me, stood my canoeing idol, Karsten Heuer. Karsten and his wife, Leanne Allison, made a documentary about their own canoe trip across Canada, which retraced the footsteps of Canadian author Farley Mowat. That he would appear before me the night before we restart our journey after a major setback was nothing short of incredible.

I told Karsten the story of our journey and our accident. He was familiar with the stretch of river where it had happened and supportive of our continuing. I wrote down his email address and promised to send him updates.

Yesterday, nearly a week after the accident, we made it back onto the river. We were all still a bit shaken, but nevertheless eager to continue on our journey. Geoff MacDonald, who completed his own journey across Canada by canoe with his wife Pam just two years ago, loaned us his canoe and saw us off at the river. It was a fitting end to our week: to begin our journey anew with the support and well wishes of other dedicated Canadian paddlers.

 

Click Here to check out Ngaio’s story on the Watermark Archive or learn more about Ngaio & Harry’s canoe trip across the prairies by visiting https://creeksandpeaks.com/  

 

Introducing North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper’s Swim Drink Fish Ambassadors!

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The Waterkeeper Gala in Toronto on Thursday, April 21st, is just one week away!

This year’s Gala will introduce 12 Swim Drink Fish Ambassadors from across Canada. These are individuals who have demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to creating a future where every Canadian can swim, drink, and fish. They are leaders who are promoting water literacy and watershed awareness, kick-starting education and protection programs, and building a strong “Swim Drink Fish Community.”

North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper is proud to have three of our wonderful directors included in this inspiring group of water leaders! Meet our Swim Drink Fish Ambassadors…

 

Karen Percy Lowe

KarenLoweKaren is a former Canadian alpine skier. She won 2 bronze medals in skiing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, where she was Canada’s flag bearer in the closing ceremony. Karen is married to former Edmonton Oilers player and current Director of Hockey for the Edmonton Oilers, Kevin Lowe. Born and raised near the Bow River in Banff and travelling the world as an Olympic and professional downhill skier, Karen has always felt a connection with water and interest in global water issues. As a result of this growing concern and interest in clean water for communities everywhere, Karen wanted to bring her passion to her watersheds in Alberta. Karen is the co-founder and President of North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper.

Kevin Lowe

KevinLoweKevin Lowe is a retired defenceman and coach in the National Hockey League and the current President of Hockey Operations for the Edmonton Oilers. As a defenceman, he played for the Edmonton Oilers and the New York Rangers. Kevin is a long-time supporter for swimmable, drinkable, fishable water and Waterkeeper-work. Kevin’s interest in clean water and water issues grew out of his original bond with the Shuswap Lake. The responsibility of stewardship of this lake and the other waters began with him learning more about everyday practices which can harm lake water quality. Today, he is a Director for the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper.

 

Britt Standen

BrittStandenBorn and raised in Edmonton, Britt Standen is the President and owner of Physique Fitness Stores. For the past 5 years, Britt has attended and supported the Waterkeeper Alliance fundraiser in Banff and Lake Louise. Living on the river banks of the North Saskatchewan River for the past 30 years it was a natural progression to “walk the talk” and she along with Karen Percy Lowe co-founded the Saskatchewan Riverkeeper group. She is currently the Vice President and Treasurer of the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper.

 

 

Click here to meet the other Swim Drink Fish Ambassadors and learn more about the Waterkeeper Gala!

 

Sarah Harmer’s Great Lake Watermarks – Lake Superior

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It’s near the end of April but still Thunder Bay is frozen in and Lake Superior’s ice and snow reflect the sun back up into the blue sky. I am here to sing at an Earth Day celebration. I walk to the end of the blustery pier and stand next to a metal sculpture with a speaker in it. I am alone but for a woman’s stark voice coming out of the speaker, saying words in her native tongue- Ice, Fire, Moose.

Is it Ojibwe? Inside the Harbour Centre I study a perfect replica of a Laker, with miniature cranes, wheelhouse, and cargo containers. The long history of moving grain and other goods out of this water trailhead is evidenced in the black and white photographs on the wall of shipbuilding and ribbon cutting ceremonies.

Sarah Harmer is an award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter and activist.

Click here to check out this and Sarah’s other Great Lake Watermarks on the Watermark Project archive.

North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper is proud to be a part of the Watermark Project, preserving our national water heritage through storytelling. To submit a Watermark of your own click here.

Photo credit: Dustin Rabin

 

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