The Freshwater Alliance runs a virtual office with staff located across the country.
Helen Chen, Lake Erie Organizer. Located in London, ON
Helen's water story: My dad’s favourite place in the world is being on a boat in the middle of the lake, either fishing or birding. His favourite sound is the call of the loon as it echoes across the vast misty lake. Ever since I was little, he has shared with me the wonder and the intrinsic value of being apart of nature. I grew up knowing that my place in the world is doing all I can to help preserve and maintain the integrity and richness of the lakes that he loves so much. After moving to London, I focused my efforts on the local Thames River and Lake Erie. From participating in the annual riverside clean up event to restoring and monitoring key lakeside landscapes, I have met many wonderful like-minded people who share the same goals.
Raj's water story: Rolling down the hill on my bike for a swim was my first date with Lake Couchiching. The relationship grew to exploring the evening shoreline by kayak for birds and skiing by winter’s ice-fishing huts. Getting to know this lake and its web of intimate relationships brings home the larger water protection issues. It sustains my motivation to apply my community organizing experience to build a stronger water advocacy network.
Christine Mettler, Communications and Special Projects Lead. Located in Kelowna, BC
Christine's water story: In the agricultural community of Niagara, ON where I grew up, water was all around me. I didn't grow up on the shores of a river or lake, but was surrounded by a network of irrigation ditches and ponds. One day, my mom found a turtle that had wandered into our barn. We brought the lost turtle to an irrigation pond where we often spotted other turtles. I remember the joy we felt as watched the little guy run toward water’s edge and dive in. I came to cherish that irrigation pond and—although not a pristine environment—came to see it as a beautiful place, full of life. Today, that's how I see water—as life-giving and sustaining— and this is what inspires me to work to protect our most precious resource.
Lindsay's water story: I grew up searching for crayfish along the shores of the Thames River and swimming between the sand dunes of Lake Huron’s shores near Sauble Beach. It wasn’t until I worked alongside communities whose waters were threatened that I became aware how significant these experiences were in my life. Married now to an avid fisherman, healthy and thriving waters are central to our lives and to the experiences we seek to instil in our young daughters.
Danielle Paydli, BC Organizer. Located in Ladysmith, BC
Danielle's water story: My neighborhood water source, located just minutes from my home on Vancouver Island, flows to a beautiful waterfall called Stocking Creek Falls. When my family and I first moved to our new home, in the heat of summer, I was ecstatic to hike to the falls. I convinced my family to go on a 'fun' hike to see this breathtaking wonder. When we finally arrived after numerous mistaken 'shortcuts', sore and tired, we saw an anticlimactic trickle down the side of a rock! However, over the course of the next few months, following the rainy season, we watched it build to a powerful, gorgeous waterfall. I feel this has mirrored my personal experience within my new community. It takes time to build relationships, understand the unique culture of a community and build a life somewhere new but it is very worth it. I'm passionate about protecting our waters because I am passionate about community. Communities are built around water - it is our source of life and it is what truly connects us.
Coree Tull, Organizing Director. Located in Vancouver, BC (on parental leave until Feb. 2020)
Coree's water story: My childhood memories of Vernon, BC where I grew up are of swimming in turquoise lakes, skiing on the powder of record snowfalls and watching streams in my neighbourhood come alive with spawning salmon every year. In 2003, I saw first-hand the devastating impact of low snowpacks, severe drought and wildfires in my community. I learned quickly about the connectivity of our water systems and the important role water plays in our lives--a source of recreation, health, wealth and connection for our communities. Since then I have been committed to learning about human relationships to water. Water is life, and this is what drives me everyday.
The Alliance is guided by the advice and support of our trusted advisors and our Steering Committee members, including:
- Kat Hartwig, Living Lakes Network Canada. Steering Committee Chair.
- Danika Littlechild. Onion Lake First Nation. Steering Committee Member.
- Susi Porter-Bopp. First Nations Fisheries Council. Steering Committee Member.
- Jill Ryan, Freshwater Future. Steering Committee Member.
- Krystyn Tully, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Steering Committee Member.