For the Love of Headwaters: What Can We Do?


January 30, 2020 :: Sofie Forsstrom
Moderated by Michelle Day

Our drinking water comes from the Oldman River, but where does this river start? The tributaries that feed a river are collectively called headwaters, the source or ‘birthplace’ of our river. Located along the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains, the headwaters of the Oldman River flow from an increasingly busy landscape - one that includes mining, logging, grazing, and recreation. This unique area offers important habitat for threatened species, as well as ecological services beyond providing most of the water used by over 210,000 people living, working, and playing in our watershed.

In response to public concern, the Oldman Watershed Council (OWC) has made the headwaters a priority through education and restoration. Their unique approach is based on social science methodologies and involves talking (and listening!) to people through face-to-face conversations; boots-on-the-ground events to restore streambanks together with partners and volunteers; testing strategies like signs and pledges to change behaviour; and ultimately, engaging hearts, heads, and hands. Since 2015, OWC has conducted 283 surveys, talked to more than 5,600 people, and helped plant over 4,300 willows and trees. The speaker will describe these local, grassroots efforts aimed at improving conditions in our headwaters, and will discuss some actions we can all take to help care for this special place.

Speaker: Sofie Forsström

Sofie Forsström is the Education Program Manager for the Oldman Watershed Council. Since 2015, Sofie has been coordinating education and restoration activities in the headwaters and beyond in order to promote watershed literacy and cultivate a strong sense of place.

Sofie earned a Master of Science in Applied Ecology from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from U of A, Augustana Campus. Prior to joining OWC, she worked as a science educator at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. In her free time, Sofie enjoys hiking with her dog and volunteering with a local Scout Troop.

Moderator: Michelle Day

Date: Thursday, January 30, 2020
Time: Doors open 11:30 am, presentation 12 noon, buffet lunch 12:30 pm, Q&A 1 – 1:30 pm
Location: Royal Canadian Legion (please enter at north door) 324 Mayor Magrath Dr. S. Lethbridge
Cost: $14 buffet lunch with dessert/coffee/tea/juice or $2 coffee/tea/juice. RSVP not required


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