Transitions at Invermere’s Groundswell Network Society

It’s been a 17 year affiliation for outgoing executive Bill Swan

By Tara Whittick

Groundswell Network Society

“It’s been a great past 5 years here at Groundswell Network Society,” reflects Bill Swan. Bill stepped out of his executive director role this spring to focus his time on other projects he has underway, both here in B.C. and further afield.

Really, it’s been a 17 year affiliation for Bill that has evolved from the Columbia Valley Botanical Gardens to Groundswell and its activities as an award-winning inspiration and agent of change focused on community development across economic, environmental and social fields.

Food, water, energy, waste and climate – these are what we often refer to at Groundswell as the ‘big five’ important fields for our communities and in fact the whole planet as we address a future filled with challenges but also with tremendous opportunities for innovation and building resilience.

“Bill has lead us through some fantastic and impactful projects in all of these areas over the past many years and on behalf of the Groundswell Board we would like to sincerely thank him for his dedication, optimism and passion in the delivery of his work,” says Dale Wilker, Board Chair.

Bill was our Project Lead throughout the many stages of developing the Community Greenhouse from feasibility, design, construction and eventual multi-year pilot of programs and activities.

“The Community Greenhouse was a large project of which I am of course very proud. But it was a massive team effort with former executive director David Zehnder, Joanne Bragg, Alison Bell and Dale Wilker also on the project development team – we had a lot of fun, overcame many challenges, enjoyed successes and our energy and passion for the project was immense,” Mr. Swan noted.

Bill also noted the people and the purpose of Groundswell as an organization, “the many great people who have led and contributed with their astounding range of talents. Alison Candy as education coordinator and my children who spent hundreds of hours there are foremost in my mind and I think also of all the past board members, project leaders, seasonal staff and summer interns – it is their contributions that have grown Groundswell as an organization and place that ultimately builds hope and develops applied skills people can make positive contributions with in the world.”

The story of how the ‘Groundswell Campus’ the Community Greenhouse and Permaculture Garden, is portrayed on posters on the walls at the Community Greenhouse entrance.

“It is the response of the community I’d personally like to acknowledge and thank again though,” Mr. Swan reflected – “from the volunteers, businesses and diversity of funders that contributed so much time and resources to the Groundswell Campus, the organization and its programs, it really is incredible. Your involvement has directly contributed to the many thousands of visitors and enquiries that have come from all around the world.”

We’re excited to announce this process is ongoing too! This fall Groundswell will reflect on its mission and future goals and we’ll ask community members, stakeholders and supporters for their input. Bill will assist in this transition as others take the reins so stay tuned for the announcement of opportunities to contribute.

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