As a staff team, we work together to catalyze collaboration within the Our Living Waters Network, all while having fun and deepening our connection to water. We want to share a bit about ourselves so you can see how our roles leading the Network are influenced by who we are.
Julie Wright — National Director
Staff role: An experienced convener and network builder, Julie centres trust and relationships in all the projects she leads. She’s mission focused and strives to always link the global to the local grounded in the belief that caring communities can move mountains.
“I live and work on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe and Chonnonton peoples that is governed by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum. This treaty sets out powerful principles for living in good relations with the land and the peoples who depend upon it and precedes colonial settlement.”
“I grew up on the Haldimand Tract and the river central to this territory which has many names, including O:se Kenhionhata:tie in Kanyen’kéha and Owaashtanong-ziibi in Anishinaabemowin. To settlers, it’s the Grand River.”
“This river is central to my family’s story in Canada. My ancestors were mostly of English and Irish heritage and my father’s side farmed along the banks of the Grand River for 100 years. I am a child of trees and brooks: the woodlands along the banks of the river form a natural cathedral that has been an inspiration to me since the first time I followed a creek down to the river’s edge.”
“As a city councillor in Waterloo, Ontario, I feel a deep obligation to our natural environment. I focus on climate action as well as stewardship and protection of our groundwater supply, watersheds, tree canopy and overall biodiversity. It’s a promise I make to my community and an investment in my children’s future.”
Taylor Wilkes - Network Facilitation Lead
Staff role: As a strategic thinker, Taylor brings a mix of inquiry and vulnerability to facilitating collaborations in the Network. With a discerning eye for the talents of others and a playful imagination, she helps groups unearth novel ways to think, work together and protect the waters.
“Living in Nogojiwanong (‘the place at the end of the rapids’) in Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg territory, I am grateful to call the Odenabe watershed my home. As an immigrant to Peterborough (Treaty 20), I work hard to learn the stories of my Dutch and British ancestors who originally settled here, as well as to become naturalized to this new place by knowing its plants and protocols. I just can’t stay away from the waters or keep my hands out of the garden! They are my most effective teachers. The longer I live here, the more I listen and the less I say.”
“At this stage in my (un)learning journey, I lean into invitations that challenge me to pick up my Treaty responsibilities and that alleviate educational burdens on Indigenous leaders. When I do speak up, it’s typically reflective or disruptive, aiming to hold my peer ‘white’ folks accountable to right relations. It feels edgy and uncomfortable, but is done on behalf of the waters.”
"I'm a water person through and through, happiest in the stern of a canoe!”
Rebekah Kipp - Network Communications Lead
Staff role: As a creative communicator, Rebekah brings her gifts in language, writing and design to her work at Our Living Waters. With lived experience in French and English speaking Canada, she helps weave the Network together.
“I have roots and ancestry in diverse places, which all interweave to bind my identity together. My British ancestors settled in Canada after WWII, while my Dutch Huguenot ancestors established a colony on land that is now New York City in the early 1600s. Descendants of my Dutch ancestors eventually moved north, intermarrying with Québécois habitants.”
“I currently live and work in Quinte West, Ontario, on shared Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee and Wyandot territory, sandwiched between Williams’ Treaty land & the Crawford Purchase. I spend lots of time along the banks of Saugechewigewonk (the Trent River in Anishinaabemowin), watching and feeling the river’s daily mood changes.”
“I grew up on the shores of Gardom Lake, BC, where I fell in love with muck as I played in the bullrushes! Since then I’ve discovered joy in the vast watersheds of Nayaano-nibiimaang Gichigamiin (the Great Lakes in Anishinaabemowin).”
“I’m a mother, wife, lover of water and language, beachcomber and origami enthusiast!”
Our Steering Committee
We are grateful for the generosity, commitment and guidance from the Our Living Waters Steering Committee:
Sébastien Cottinet: Engagement and Public Policy Coordinator - Regroupement des organismes de bassins versants du Québec
Elizabeth Hendriks: Vice-President, Restoration and Regeneration - World Wildlife Fund Canada
Ross Jameson: Grants Manager - The Sitka Foundation
Tim Morris: Project Director - BC Freshwater Legacy Initiative
Lindsay Telfer: Manager, Capacity Development, Green Municipal Fund - Federation of Canadian Municipalities
Our Living Waters is a project on MakeWay's shared platform, which provides operational support, governance, and charitable expertise for change-makers. The shared platform enables more time and money to go towards achieving greater impact. MakeWay is a national charity that builds partnerships and solutions to help nature and communities thrive together.