Fraser Riverkeeper has a brand new communications division made up of William Bird and Melanie Stirling. If you want to know more about what drives them to fight for water, read more below!

Hello everybody, my name is Will, and I am the newest edition of the fantastic communications coordinators that Fraser Riverkeeper has seen in the last few years. I certainly have some shoes to fill when it comes to the quality and quantity of content coming from us, but I am so excited to be working with a company that I can get behind to the fullest. My association with FRK first began a couple of months ago as I completed an internship as part of my college degree with Swim Drink Fish in Toronto, ON. My time there was so amazing that I instantly threw my name in the hat when I was told of the opening. Three weeks and a lot of driving later, I was happily living in Vancouver. 

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View of Pine Lake looking towards my Grandparents cottage

I LOVE the water. Virtually every summer since I was born was spent at my family's cottage at a small lake in Muskoka, Ontario. Almost every day there, I spent in the water in one way or another. Swimming, cliff jumping, waterskiing, and fishing are all memories that I can fondly look back on, thanks to my connection with Pine Lake. I firmly believe that I would not have the same outlook on life as I do now without those summers.  

Fishing with my grandparents when I was little is what sparked my love of the outdoors. Watching my dad barefooting or slalom-skiing when he would come up for the weekends is what made me love being in a boat. Playing tag by our trampoline with my brother gave me a reason to love being in the water. Campfires by the lake with family made the outdoors feel like home. These are only small pieces of everything that happened in the many years I spent up there, but they are some of the reasons why I can't help but smile when I see the water. 

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Left to right: my brother, myself and my dad out on the water

I'm not from the area, but to have an opportunity to get paid to fight for swimmable, drinkable and fishable waters with a camera and a keyboard, I would go to the ends of the world. 

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At Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand, 2016

In the few weeks I've had out here, my absolute favourite experience so far has been visiting the 30-foot pool in Lynn Valley with the rest of the FRK crew. Cliff jumping is something that I love doing, and being able to do so in such a unique space with new friends to boot, is an experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life. 

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Cliff jumping at Lynn Valley

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Left to right: Melanie Stirling, Lauren Brown Hornor, Imogene Broberg-Hull, Sadie Caron, Jessica Gordon, and William Bird 

One of those new friends is our fantastic communications specialist, Melanie Stirling. Melanie truly loves the water and is a wonderful addition to the team. 

Sharing our watermark story is a bit of a right of passage around here and is an excellent introduction to who she is and why she loves the water. If you want to submit your own watermark story, you can do so here!

Without further adieu, meet Melanie!

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Fishing from the dock at the cottage

"Growing up in Southern Ontario, the quintessential way to spend your summer days is by the lake. I remember my family would count down the days until we left for the cottage. All of us were buzzing with excitement about the time we would soon spend together enjoying the lake and all that nature has to offer. 

The drive was 2.5 hours, and the first thing anyone did when we arrived was run down to the dock to see the water. I have such fond memories of returning each summer to that dock and seeing one of my favourite places in the world, Otter Lake. 

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The view walking down to the dock

Each day was filled with swimming, boating, fishing, campfires, and all-around outdoorsy fun. I can recall so many memories of scouring every inch of the lake by boat, swimming until your skin started to look like a prune, chasing frogs and minnows, screaming with laughter on a boat ride that's going so fast that you have tears in your eyes from the wind. This is where my deep connection with water began.

It is here that I learned about the value and importance of access to water and how vital of a resource it is for all life. This is the place that allowed me to discover and connect with my passions and have them flourish into what they are today. I am forever grateful for these summers at Otter Lake, as they shaped me into who I am now."

 

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From left to right: a sunset view from our boat; our cottage; the view of the lake from our dock

Hi everyone! Now that you’ve had a chance to get to know me a little better through my watermark story, I’d love to share a bit more about my background and how I wound up at Fraser Riverkeeper.

I’m originally from Ontario and moved out west to study Natural Resources Conservation at the University of British Columbia. Once I completed my degree, I decided to stay permanently out west! I mean, who could leave a place that is surrounded by mountaintops, lush forests, and an ocean at your doorstep? There’s a reason it’s called “Beautiful British Columbia” after all!

I’m beyond excited to have recently joined the Fraser Riverkeeper team as their communications specialist! I have always had a deep connection with the environment and a calling to make a positive impact in the conservation world specifically. I’m ecstatic to be taking on this role with such a tight-knit and positive group that all share such a passion for protecting our waters. I look forward to using an inclusive approach to celebrate, share, and support a rich culture of water stewardship with you all!

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