Summer Outreach Begins!

Hello Fabulous Readers!

Taking a break from field work with the Larabanga
Girls Dance Group in Larabanga, Ghana
My name is Natalie and I am one of the lucky students who was hired to work with the Georgia Strait Alliance throughout the summer.

I’m a life-time resident of Nanaimo, and I just finished the third year of my degree in Tourism Management at Vancouver Island University. In my free time I love trail running, gardening, and exploring as much as possible with Skeena, my one year old Shiba Inu.

I wanted to work with GSA because I love the Georgia Strait!  I also believe in the power of community conservation management. Last summer, I traveled to Ghana and visited the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary, which is made up of several communities that work hard to protect the resident hippo population. The conservation model was very complex, but through tourism, the community was able to benefit in many ways. Some residents had to change their behaviors, but they were still able to go about their daily lives. Even though the Georgia Strait covers a much greater area and population base, I believe that the Strait Community can come together and experience many positive benefits if everyone participates in making it happen.

The thing I’m looking forward to the most this summer is traveling around and talking with the public. I love meeting people, chatting, and making sure that everyone is enjoying themselves.  The Georgia Strait Alliance has some very powerful campaigns on the go, and people are very interested. This past weekend, Ryan and I had some great conversations surrounding the Drift Card Study and the Kinder Morgan Expansion. People were in awe with the spill maps and seeing how far and fast oil from a spill could spread. Community outreach is a great way to spread awareness with people, and also hear what individuals have to say.  Make sure if you see us out on the road somewhere that you stop by to say ‘hello’!

The program I’m most excited to help out with is GSA’s newest program- The Waterfront Initiative! I’m so thrilled with this idea because it brings everyone together in a brand new way and for a powerful purpose. Regardless of how individuals use the waterfront in Vancouver – work, home, industry, or play – the Waterfront Initiative has the power to create a collective image of what the waterfront should look like and work to make that happen. After all, isn’t the waterfront one of Vancouver’s most beautiful assets? I hope to help out with the launch of this project as much as I can while I’m here, throughout the summer and beyond.

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