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Being There



Nov. 21, 2023
Pamela helping the Medicine River Watershed Society take water samples.
Pamela helping the Medicine River Watershed Society take water samples.

A summer road trip to visit Alberta's Watershed Stewardship Groups.

Many people spend their summer road tripping, visiting new places and exploring new terrains. Land Stewardship Centre’s Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, Pamela Billey, got to do all that as part of her job. Over the summer and into the fall, she spent time with 19 Watershed Stewardship Groups (WSGs). Made possible with funding from Alberta Environment and Protected Areas, LSC offers Watershed Stewardship Grants to help community stewardship groups get their community-based projects off the ground.

Ranging from awareness and education to measuring and reporting on watershed health, these groups, located in every part of the province, undertake a diversity of projects. Traversing the province, Pamela connected with WSGs, offering support, learning about their work and getting to know the people behind the projects.

“The goal is to connect with the WSGs and build relationships,” Pamela explains. “It’s an opportunity to understand their needs and goals, what they’d like to see in the future.”

The in-person element is key for Pamela and for the stewards she meets with, to understand their needs and goals – even when they’re unspoken.

“We could email and answer questions that way, but actually being on the landscape and having those conversations in person is so much more meaningful. I come away knowing the community so much better than if it had just been an email exchange,” she adds.

By experiencing the projects in person, Pamela doesn’t just connect with the groups individually, she's also able to connect groups with each other, fostering a network of stewards who support each other.

“If one group is struggling with an area that I know another group really succeeded in, I can get them connected,” adds Pamela.

Driving all over Alberta also helped Pamela get more acquainted with the province’s diverse landscapes and appreciate the work the different WSGs are doing in different regions.

“I didn’t know much about southern Alberta or the geographical differences there,” Pamela says. “I learned so much from the different ways people relate to the land in different places, different historical or community knowledge. You don’t get that experience without actually being there.”

Check out the Watershed Stewardship Grant Story Map to learn more about the recipients of the grant program and their projects.

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