Volunteer Voices: Hear from some of our long-time volunteers

December 20, 2023

By: Meghan Rooney

They show up rain or shine, roll up their sleeves and get to work, whether planting seeds or stuffing envelopes. They ask for nothing except to know what it is they can give.

Volunteers are the backbone of tens of thousands of organizations doing great work in Canada and Watershed Watch is no exception. In 2023 we had volunteers put in hundreds of hours at more than 30 events, helping with everything from citizen science data collection to hands-on work rehabilitating riparian zones along salmon habitat. 

It’s not just the work that gets done. The people who come out to give of their time inspire us to keep going and remind us that what we do matters to us and to them. We are so grateful.

Watershed Watch spoke to three of our fantastic volunteers about what motivates them. Here’s what they had to say:

Kirk Miles

Myself and my wife and are longtime residents of the Township of Langley and have raised our two children here. While residing here our family has always enjoyed the benefits of living in the Lower Mainland,  leading us to enjoy the outdoors. 

Volunteer Kirk supports with Resilient Waters data collection

Why do you volunteer with Watershed Watch?

The society’s focus on science-based solutions to challenges like habitat loss, climate change, and water management aligns with my interest in environmental sustainability and stewardship. 

As an active member deeply invested in local wellbeing, I have found a profound sense of purpose and satisfaction in contributing to the various environmental and conservation initiatives that Watershed Watch works towards (focusing on local clean-ups, invasive plant removal, and the fascinating world of salmon conservation).

Volunteer Kirk Miles

I am passionate about conserving and restoring wild salmon populations in British Columbia and Watershed Watch’s initiatives allow me to participate towards such.

What are some of the highlights for you in the volunteer work you’ve done?

I joined forces with like-minded individuals and leaders who are committed and willing to share their knowledge. The experience of working together, picking up litter, and witnessing the immediate transformation of our streets and parks is not only gratifying but also a strong reminder of our collective responsibility towards our environment.

Another area of involvement is removing invasive plant species. These plants pose a significant threat to local ecosystems. My role has involved identifying these species, understanding their impact, and physically removing them and replacing them with native plants beneficial to our local wildlife. This challenging yet rewarding task has taught me the delicate balance of ecosystems and the importance of maintaining biodiversity.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of my volunteer work has been assisting in counting salmon in our waterways and identifying invasive fish species in those waterways. This activity is crucial for understanding the health and trends of these species. Participating in this process has been an eye-opening experience, allowing me to appreciate the intricate relationships between species and their habitats. The data collected from these counts aids in conservation efforts and helps inform local environmental policies.

Ms. Quirien Mulder ten Kate, Abbotsford 

Why do you volunteer with Watershed Watch?

Meeting new people, contributing to an important cause, learning new environmental field skills. 

What are some of the highlights for you in the volunteer work you’ve done?

Trapping and releasing Western Red Painted turtle at Addington Marsh. Going to a site, seeing all the invasive plant species and then two hours later seeing all the native plant species that were hidden underneath. Removing the yellow flag Iris seed pots at a slough in Chilliwack, learning how to ID fish. Canoeing in sloughs, marshes and other waterways in the Fraser Valley, observing beautiful flora and fauna. Being with others who believe in similar causes and wanting to make a difference no matter how big or small! 

Volunteer Todd Andersen

Todd Andersen, Port Coquitlam

Why do you volunteer with Watershed Watch?

I think it is so important to get out into nature and learn about the different ecosystems that surround us. I find it so interesting learning about what species are native to the area and what are considered invasive. We rely on our fish stocks in so many ways, understanding what is being done to protect these is important. The relationship Watershed Watch has with Indigenous communities is amazing to see. I like how the society is integrated within the communities they work. I have a great time every time I volunteer and hope to continue being able to in the future.

What are some of the highlights for you in the volunteer work you’ve done?

I have volunteered in Chilliwack, Minnekhada Park and Pitt Lake. All have very different water systems, plants and wildlife that keep me coming back for more. Everyone I have met from Watershed Watch is so nice and accommodating, happy to answer any questions I have and take the time to explain what they are doing and why. 

The dedication of those with the society and the other volunteers is impressive. Rain or shine, they are out on the water and that keeps me coming back. I love my time volunteering with the Watershed Watch, it is something I look forward to every year.

Share This Story!

Volunteer Voices: Hear from some of our long-time volunteers

December 20, 2023

By: Meghan Rooney

They show up rain or shine, roll up their sleeves and get to work, whether planting seeds or stuffing envelopes. They ask for nothing except to know what it is they can give.

Volunteers are the backbone of tens of thousands of organizations doing great work in Canada and Watershed Watch is no exception. In 2023 we had volunteers put in hundreds of hours at more than 30 events, helping with everything from citizen science data collection to hands-on work rehabilitating riparian zones along salmon habitat. 

It’s not just the work that gets done. The people who come out to give of their time inspire us to keep going and remind us that what we do matters to us and to them. We are so grateful.

Watershed Watch spoke to three of our fantastic volunteers about what motivates them. Here’s what they had to say:

Kirk Miles

Myself and my wife and are longtime residents of the Township of Langley and have raised our two children here. While residing here our family has always enjoyed the benefits of living in the Lower Mainland,  leading us to enjoy the outdoors. 

Volunteer Kirk supports with Resilient Waters data collection

Why do you volunteer with Watershed Watch?

The society’s focus on science-based solutions to challenges like habitat loss, climate change, and water management aligns with my interest in environmental sustainability and stewardship. 

As an active member deeply invested in local wellbeing, I have found a profound sense of purpose and satisfaction in contributing to the various environmental and conservation initiatives that Watershed Watch works towards (focusing on local clean-ups, invasive plant removal, and the fascinating world of salmon conservation).

Volunteer Kirk Miles

I am passionate about conserving and restoring wild salmon populations in British Columbia and Watershed Watch’s initiatives allow me to participate towards such.

What are some of the highlights for you in the volunteer work you’ve done?

I joined forces with like-minded individuals and leaders who are committed and willing to share their knowledge. The experience of working together, picking up litter, and witnessing the immediate transformation of our streets and parks is not only gratifying but also a strong reminder of our collective responsibility towards our environment.

Another area of involvement is removing invasive plant species. These plants pose a significant threat to local ecosystems. My role has involved identifying these species, understanding their impact, and physically removing them and replacing them with native plants beneficial to our local wildlife. This challenging yet rewarding task has taught me the delicate balance of ecosystems and the importance of maintaining biodiversity.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of my volunteer work has been assisting in counting salmon in our waterways and identifying invasive fish species in those waterways. This activity is crucial for understanding the health and trends of these species. Participating in this process has been an eye-opening experience, allowing me to appreciate the intricate relationships between species and their habitats. The data collected from these counts aids in conservation efforts and helps inform local environmental policies.

Ms. Quirien Mulder ten Kate, Abbotsford 

Why do you volunteer with Watershed Watch?

Meeting new people, contributing to an important cause, learning new environmental field skills. 

What are some of the highlights for you in the volunteer work you’ve done?

Trapping and releasing Western Red Painted turtle at Addington Marsh. Going to a site, seeing all the invasive plant species and then two hours later seeing all the native plant species that were hidden underneath. Removing the yellow flag Iris seed pots at a slough in Chilliwack, learning how to ID fish. Canoeing in sloughs, marshes and other waterways in the Fraser Valley, observing beautiful flora and fauna. Being with others who believe in similar causes and wanting to make a difference no matter how big or small! 

Volunteer Todd Andersen

Todd Andersen, Port Coquitlam

Why do you volunteer with Watershed Watch?

I think it is so important to get out into nature and learn about the different ecosystems that surround us. I find it so interesting learning about what species are native to the area and what are considered invasive. We rely on our fish stocks in so many ways, understanding what is being done to protect these is important. The relationship Watershed Watch has with Indigenous communities is amazing to see. I like how the society is integrated within the communities they work. I have a great time every time I volunteer and hope to continue being able to in the future.

What are some of the highlights for you in the volunteer work you’ve done?

I have volunteered in Chilliwack, Minnekhada Park and Pitt Lake. All have very different water systems, plants and wildlife that keep me coming back for more. Everyone I have met from Watershed Watch is so nice and accommodating, happy to answer any questions I have and take the time to explain what they are doing and why. 

The dedication of those with the society and the other volunteers is impressive. Rain or shine, they are out on the water and that keeps me coming back. I love my time volunteering with the Watershed Watch, it is something I look forward to every year.

Share This Story!

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