By Nicole Trigg
The Columbia Valley lost one of its greatest ambassadors this week. Kirsten Harma, whos been the program co-ordinator for the Lake Windermere Ambassadors for the last three and a half years, left Canada on Monday to return to her home soil in the U. S. of A.
Her departure was not her choice. Given the option, she would have gladly stayed and continued her work as an intelligent and effective steward of the environment north of the border. Its thanks to her knowledge and dedication to our watershed that awareness of Lake Windermere has flourished in recent years, as well as the activities around it.
In addition to diligently taking water samples and monitoring the lakes health on a weekly basis throughout the summer months, Ms. Harma who earned her Masters in Science at the University of British Columbia prior to moving to the valley has held numerous educational talks and presentations throughout the valley, established herself as a regular columinist in both of the valleys newspapers (Beneath the Surface in The Valley Echo and Watershed Wanderings in The Pioneer), grew what was once the Lake Windermere Regatta into the now-wildly successful Summer Splash that takes place each August, and engaged both locals and visitors in numerous other lake-focused events such as the Shoreline Cleanup and the Catch the Freeze contest, to name just two. While her replacement, Megan Peloso, has hit the ground running and is a wonderful addition to the community, its a crying shame that the Columbia Valley and Canada, for that matter could not retain Ms. Harmas education and expertise.