By Erin Knutson

Special to the Pioneer

PELOSO TAKEOVER  Megan Peloso was born to take the helm as the new program coordinator for the Lake Windermere Ambassadors.   Photo submitted

PELOSO TAKEOVER Megan Peloso was born to take the helm as the new program coordinator for the Lake Windermere Ambassadors. Photo submitted

The Lake Windermere Ambassadors have given the reins of one of its most important roles to a new water woman at the helm of the not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the lake.Deserving candidate Megan Peloso has taken over the position of program co-ordinator from former representative Kirstin Harma.Im very grateful for the warm welcome I have received since arriving just a few weeks ago, Ms. Peloso said.

Parts of the responsibilities integral to Ms. Pelosos exciting new role include managing the diverse needs of the lake and dealing with the public who thrive within its watershed, she said. My new role as LWAs program co-ordinator is to implement a work plan that builds on numerous workshops and discussions and ultimately seeks to safeguard the health of the lake for years to come.

Ms. Pelosos extensive role is guided by a work plan created by a board of directors who represent various stakeholder groups. Monitoring water quality is a top priority inherent in LWAs program, as is creating a communication platform for awareness and education through materials and workshops.

Its part of my role to develop creative strategies and opportunities for people to become more connected to their water source through watershed tours, classroom projects and volunteer outreach, she said. The idea is that when people take away something new, or have an interesting experience they will share what they learn with others, thats what water stewardship is all about!

The water activist gravitated to the LWAs progressive reputation and its ability to adapt and evolve. Inspired by the beauty of the lake corridor, Ms. Peloso was further encouraged by the response of the public to protect the integral aspects of the lake.

I found the challenge of applying the skills I have learned in an entirely new context appealing I see my role as a mediator, co-ordinating perspectives and concerns into effective and collaborative action within the Columbia Basin.

Ms. Pelosos love of the water originated with her upbringing in Ontario. My childhood home was adjacent to a wetland and while growing up this was a special place where I spent memorable time playing, exploring and contemplating. After obtaining her degree in International Development at the University of Ottawa, the insightful student became aware of global disparities involving access to natural resources. This knowledge sparked a passion for the environmental conservation, which spurred her to obtain a Masters Degree in Natural Resource Management at the University of British Columbia.

My thesis focused on water access and governance in Ghana, and I continue to assist on research that looks at pricing water fairly in Canada Its interesting to know that Canadian water consumption ranks well above other industrialized countries, second only to the U.S., and that of all the provinces, B.C. residents use the most water on average.

East Kootenay is a place where innovative work is happening and Ms. Peloso sees the important connection between communities and environmental groups in the Columbia Valley as integrated and proficient at educating one another. I hope to spark conversations around water resources, so that those of us living on or around Lake Windermere have a mindful voice in decisions that affect the Lake. I am fortunate to arrive on the heels of the excellent work led by former Program Co-ordinator Kirsten Harma, and look forward to learning more about the role local community members can play in planning for the future of their watershed.

Ms. Peloso encourages the public to come out to the Columbia Salmon Festival on Saturday, September 13th (tomorrow) where the Lake Windermere Ambassadors will have a presence, and to the post-summer Shoreline Clean-up on Saturday, September 20th beginning at 10 a.m. on Kinsmen Beach.To contact Ms. Peloso, become an LWA member or make a donation, email info@lakeambassadors.ca or call 250-341-6898.