Stewardship Pemberton on loving where you live, Part 2: Pay attention. Fight for what you love.
Last post, Stewardship Pemberton revealed the first step to loving where you live: get to know it.
This week, we hear more from Veronica Woodruff, Dawn Johnson and Jocelyn Sereda on why making an effort matters, and why you probably don’t want to give your salmon a name.
Soon after the Nature Centre opened last June, it won recognition provincially, for Small Community Leadership and Innovation. What is it that makes the Centre so special?
VW: It is a partnership initiative across all government levels including Lil’wat Nation and non-profit organizations.
It is a small building representing in a big landscape.
One Mile Lake Nature Centre was an ambitious undertaking, with limited budget, short timelines, challenging construction setting, no-power, limited access, ridiculous snowfall. Is there a parallel between achieving this construction project and confronting the bigger challenges we face environmentally?
JS: The more environmentally sustainable route often seems to be the more expensive, time consuming one. But if you persevere, it is always more than worth it. It’s a great feeling to switch the lights on and know the power is generated by the sun. The personal satisfaction is huge – lnowing you are making a positive contribution to your environment and not a negative one. Plus, we learned that the environmentally friendly way of doing things is not always more expensive. For the Centre, being far from the grid, the less expensive option was actually the environmental one. As a bonus, the rainwater catchment, solar power and composting toilets all serve as great public education tools.
I hope people will come in, use the composting toilets, see how awesome they are, and be inspired to do the same in their own home.
Working together to achieve a common goal was an important aspect of the center. So many volunteer hours went into it, along with some big donations of material and money. You can see what can result from amazing collaboration every time you walk by the Nature Center!
DJ: We have many serious crises that are sparking a need for solutions. Amazing things happen out of these times of environmental adversity – changes to greener energy sources, growing your own food, or sourcing it locally. If you can dream it, you can do it.
When will the demonstration hatchery get up and running? Will you name the mamma and papa fish?
>VW: The hatchery will be in operation starting in November. Since the parent salmon put all their life energy into producing young (in nature or at the hatchery) and don’t live beyond that event, it’s probably not a good idea to get too personal with them.
When will the salmon be released?
VW: We currently have about 200 fish living in school tanks and releases will start in early May.
Will it actually be those very salmon who swim back home to spawn, several years from now?
VW: Yes, that is what make salmon so awe inspiring. We have access to great maps showing where our chinook venture through Alaska.
What else does Stewardship Pemberton do?
VW: The Community Garden operates through SPS. We have done four of the interpretive signs at One Mile. We have partnered with Pemberton Secondary Outdoor Recreation class to run a six week enviro twist to their regular programming. We are working with the Provinical Recovery Team and the red-listed sharp-tail snake.
DJ: We also hope in the future to incorporate some hands-on habitat restoration projects that the community can become involved with. Our Board of Directors also have some great initiatives incubating, from car-pooling to workshops and a speaker series.
Why the focus on kids?
VW: We really want to strengthen their relationship to the amazing things in our own backyard.
DJ: They are our future leaders. If we teach our children about the natural world in which they live, then they’ll love it, and want to protect it. Participatory learning is really great at strengthening intergenerational relationships within our community.
Our youth programming is very strong but it is a goal to offer post secondary credit education, alternative learning program with the secondary school and non-formal adult education programs.
What should we all being doing more of, in Pemberton, to steward our habitat?
JS: The most important thing is to be aware. Keeping the environment around us healthy will in turn keep us healthy. When I take kids on nature walks, and we see garbage in the water, I ask them if they would like that garbage thrown into their house. They always shout a huge NO and then I tell them that lake is the house for lots of fish, amphibians and bugs. It really makes them think and most times, along the rest of the walk, the kids will start picking up garbage along the path at their own accord. It’s so amazing to see. Once someone is aware its really hard to turn a blind eye.
Also, find something you are passionate about, and focus on that. Once you start learning about environmental stewardship, it can be really overwhelming, there is just so much to do! So find something that ignites your passion and follow it. If each one of us did that, imagine what a world this would be!
DJ: Stay open to new ides and conversations. We all need to work together and take a look at the bigger picture , making sure that it makes sense from many angles: environmentally, economically, socially, even politically and spiritually.
So, if you own a pair of rubberboots, wonder about bird calls, stop and marvel at sunsets, the salmon run or skunk cabbage, or have ever picked up a piece of litter, then you are hereby declared a Steward of Pemberton. Go like Stewardship Pemberton’s One Mile Lake Nature Centre page on facebook. Because they like you. To find out more, connect with Veronica (email@example.com) or Joceyln (firstname.lastname@example.org.) (And if you haven’t yet, then rest assured, it’s never too late to start.)