Wayne Salewski: Hometown Hero!

31 May

“Stewards Conserve, Restore, and Protect”

This is a perfect description of Wayne Salewski, Volunteer Vanderhoof’s nominee for Earth Day Canada’s Hometown Hero. Wayne was a top three finalist for the prestigious award, a huge honour in environmental circles in Canada.

Wayne sees himself as part of the ‘grey to green’ generation: recently retired from a career in forestry and fire management, Wayne is busier than ever in Vanderhoof with various stewardship projects.

Wayne is the leader on the Murray Creek Rehabilitation project. His vision for the project came to him 25 years ago when his children couldn’t catch a rainbow trout in the creek; at that time, Wayne knew something was wrong and committed to do something about it.  The project is focussed on improving land and agriculture management practices and undertaking stream restoration in the Murray Creek watershed, a small watershed that is a tributary to the Nechako River.

The Murray Creek project is the first visible program in this region to introduce water stewardship needs and practices to the agricultural community. It is demonstrating that stewardship practices are not onerous because of time and expense but rather an important program that will continue to give this industry the social license to operate on the land base.  This project has engaged community politicians and leaders, creating opportunities for discussion at public gatherings as this idea is advanced to include adjacent streams and watersheds.

Wayne has led a number of projects that involve local school students including the Nest Box Project for Birds, Salmonoids in the Classroom, an archery program, the Murray creek stream rehab project and the White Sturgeon Recovery Program.

Wayne was instrumental in creating working partnerships with government agencies, universities and organizations like the Fraser Basin Council that are united in moving forward these types of programs because of his success with Murray Creek.

Recently Ducks Unlimited partnered with Vanderhoof Fish and Game Club, with Wayne as the project leader, to purchase the Redmond Pit Wetlands, west of Vanderhoof. He wants these partnerships to continue and sees the opportunity to do further work in wetland areas including those adjacent to McLeod and NVSS. He would like to build teaching and viewing platforms in this wetland area. The School District Board has expressed its appreciation for Wayne’s work and dedication in making so many “hands on” learning experiences happen for district students.

As a director of the BC Wildlife Federation, Wayne is the provincial Chair of the Enbridge file for BCWF and spokesperson regarding the Enbridge Pipeline project.  His passion for protecting the environment was evident when he spoke at the panel sessions for consultation on the northern pipeline project stating, “We have concerns about the ability to move this oil across this province and up and down our coastline and want to state that we will not accept one spill or accident that damages the heritage for our children. We’ve all seen how quickly these events change our environment and it’s simply not acceptable.”

“I’m very proud to be a British Columbian, I’m very proud of the environment that we have and I’m very proud of the heritage that we have in this province.”

Vanderhoof agrees with you Wayne.  Congratulations – you are truly our Home Town Hero!

Volunteer Vanderhoof, the organization that nominated Wayne Salewski for the Hometown Hero Award, National Earth Day awards is part of a larger community initiative, the Welcoming and Inclusive Communities and Workplaces Program (WICWP) Demonstration Project, funded through the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia. The WICWP project is facilitated by the Good Neighbours Committee represented by the District of Vanderhoof, Saik’uz First Nations, Regional District Bulkley Nechako, Area ‘F’, the College of New Caledonia – Nechako, School District No 91 and the Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce.  Part of The GNC mandate, as supported by the WICWP, is to live in community that is welcoming and inclusive. A welcoming and inlcusive community promotes the full participation of all residents in the soical, cultural and economic life of the region without discrimination. For further information on the Good Neighbours Committee and the WICWP Demonstration Project, www.goodneighbours.wordpress.com.


2 Responses to “Wayne Salewski: Hometown Hero!”

  1. streamrambler September 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    Excited to read this description of the work you are doing on Murray Creek and in the Vanderhoof area. As part of the Ripple Effect cycle trip, I’ve tried to contact you for two consecutive years, but we keep missing you when we go through Vanderhoof! Anyway, it appears that the Murray Creek watershed bears similarities to my McLennan Watershed in Abbotsford, so I would love to connect on that basis as well as next year’s Fraser Watershed Stewardship ride (www.ripplerelay.ca)

  2. Wayne September 22, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Thank you for your support. Sorry about not being here but with long winters in the north we take the best weeks of the summer and disappear for weeks into the mountains and or lakes of the region.
    If you listen over the next months you should hear of our next steps in bring our Murray Creek project to a much bigger region and show impacts that will make a difference over the next decades.

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