Sarah Newton Bumped : Revelstoke Times Review – A Q&A with Hailey Ross, the new president of the NCES

“To me, if you’re concerned about the environment, you’re also concerned about people, community and culture. It is meaningless to try to separate the nature from these things,” says new NCES president Hailey Ross.

The North Columbia Environmental Society has a new president at the helm following their annual general meeting. We spoke with Hailey Ross to find out more about her and her new role.

What experience do you bring to the role of president of the NCES?

I have a fair bit of experience working with people in community groups. My communication skills are good.

I worked with other environmental groups out east. I grew up in a family who are event planners and really active in the volunteer realm and the NCES relies a lot on volunteers. I see the power of that in community involvement and the passion that goes along with that.

And a love for this community and a want and willingness to be involved.

Why did you take the position?

Encouragement coming at me from a lot of different angles. I was inspired by the work that Sarah [Newton] has done in the past. We work well together and she has said that she’ll continue work with me by my side if I need it.

The knowledge of knowing I’ll be working with a very experience board, I won’t be there standing on my own. Had the board not been there to work with, I wouldn’t have done it by myself.

And the experience, coming right out of school and coming into a small community that I care about and I’m interested to get to know a little bit more about, it’s hard to turn down an opportunity like this.

What’s your vision for the NCES in the coming year?

Some of our bigger goals, we’d really like to see a strong cosmetic pesticide bylaw go through. A year from now I’d like to see that we’ve contributed to the environmental education that goes along with that bylaw that hopefully will be passed.

Other things are I’d like to see a bit of progress with our climate change education and just an overall ecological awareness of the community, having it increased a little bit more with our environmental education efforts. My understanding is five years ago the NCES wasn’t doing that much and that we’ve gained a whole lot of momentum. If I can help keep that momentum going I’ll be happy.

What do you consider the most pressing environmental issue in Revelstoke right now that’s not being dealt with?

I think the biggest hurdle for Revelstoke – it’s not unique to Revelstoke, it’s an issue that communities are dealing with all over the world, and in B.C. – its how we’re going to adapt to climate change.

There’s a lot of stuff that’s going to happen that we haven’t experienced before. We’re going to have to be really creative in dealing with that and to a large extent Revelstoke has started looking down that road.

There’s a lot of stuff that’s going to have to be dealt with in the future that we haven’t had to deal with. Its going to be interesting to see how that unfolds. . .

I think a lot of us don’t know what that looks like it but its cool because it’s happening.

There are really encouraging things happening. I don’t think that the work that has to be done should be looked at as sacrifice and gloom and doom. I think a lot of the things that we have to do to deal with climate change issues will in effect make us a stronger, more vibrant community on a social and cultural level.

They’ll be rewarding things, I don’t think they should be viewed as sacrifices.

Where would you like to see the City of Revelstoke focus itself in terms of environmental issues?

I think the planning department is doing a lot already. What Penny Page-Brittin is doing with the pesticide bylaw and then next looking at the community emissions audit and what the CEEP contractors are doing. They’re journeying down that road, I just hope the council takes it very seriously and they need to show leadership in this road that they’re on.

I would hope that tourism doesn’t always trump the needs of our community and that the two can be seen as mutually beneficial if it’s dealt with creatively with the long term view in my mind.

Revelstoke Times Review – A Q&A with Hailey Ross, the new president of the NCES.