KENTVILLE, NS – A new river stewardship group is working toward a cleaner and healthier Cornwallis River.
The Jijuktu’kwejk (gee-gee-wok-tok) Watershed Alliance held its second annual gathering on May 22 to share with members and the public the successes of 2017 and to look forward to 2018.
“We made a lot of progress during our first full year,” said Dr. John Brazner, alliance board member. “Our summer students collected biological and bacterial data from 10 sites all through the summer. We launched a monthly nature program out of the Kentville Ravine. Our year-long E. coli project was very successful. We are collaborating with five other groups in the Valley on several projects and grants. It has been a fantastic year and we are only just getting started.”
The Jijuktu’kwejk Watershed Alliance is a partnership of citizens and communities from Berwick to Wolfville with the common vision of a healthy and sustainable natural environment. The group includes a volunteer executive director and seven board members. The alliance is hiring a team of summer students funded by the Canada Summer Jobs Program, the Coldbrook Lions Club, the Friends of the Cornwallis River and membership donations.
During the meeting, it was announced that they will be fundraising for the position of a paid executive director who will be able to write more grants, launch volunteer projects, coordinate public events and liaise with communities and local groups.
“We are starting a long journey with a family of members, board members, volunteer and staff who will really change this river and the Valley for the better,” said alliance founder and executive director Jennifer West. “Our membership is growing, our funding is increasing, we are starting new projects and are hiring more people. The Alliance is really taking off.”
During the meeting, which took place at the Kentville Community Space at 38 Cornwallis St., West gave a talk about her history with the Kennebecasis River in New Brunswick and the Cornwallis River, and of her vision of the organization.
Meghan Milloy of McCallum Environmental Consulting spoke about wetlands in the Cornwallis watershed and their wetland assessment project. The board shared its financial statements and the public asked questions and discussed wetlands and restoration projects.
The Jijuktu’kwejk Watershed Alliance has launched its campaign to raise $5,000 as the seed funding to support a full time executive director. Anyone interested in supporting the campaign can visit the alliance website at https://jijuktukwejkwatershedalliance.wordpress.com/, the alliance Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JijuktukwejkWatershed, or just search for Cornwallis river watershed alliance.