Posted by Maria Hudolin on Mar 04, 2021
Guests at our meeting today included: Carol French, Tom Roth, Sarah de Leeuw and our guest speaker Barbara Everdene.
Lots of “Lobster Talk” today as our first annual Lobster Crawl was a huge crackling success! Members stepped up to volunteer and our event crawled along smoothly resulting in $5000 being raised for local Lake Country and International projects. Congrats to all those involved!

Our club’s 25th Anniversary is March 29 and we will begin our year of celebrations at our meeting on Thursday March 25th celebrating our members – current and past – and our many local community projects in Lake Country. There’s so much to celebrate! Guests and past presidents/members are all welcome to attend our meetings via zoom. Contact President Sandy at sandy_wightman@telus.net and he will send you our weekly zoom meeting link.

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Today’s speaker was Barbara Everdene who has found her way back to the Okanagan, most recently from Vancouver. Barbara is a community planner with a Masters in Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia. She is a registered member of the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Barbara manages the Access to Environmental Justice program, including the Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund (EDRF), at West Coast Environmental Law. The EDRF provides grants to individuals, community groups and First Nations who need legal support to address environmental challenges. She is inspired by the many community organizers who have used great research, creative activism and a widerange of skills to mobilize their communities to protect what they love.

For 30 years, the EDRF has given a voice to people and communities who otherwise would not have been heard. The EDRF works with dedicated clients who step up to defend land, air, water and the health of BC communities. Funding for the EDRF comes from the Law Society of BC. Lawyers and other professionals are asked to work on a partially pro bono basis.

Clients include the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club in Merritt where they were impacted by Douglas Lake Cattle blocking off public road access to a public lake used by locals. The legal counsel on this case worked for fishing lessons! Another case involves ongoing efforts to protect a peregrine falcon nest at a gravel site. Barbara also shared that the EDRF is supporting the Heiltsuk Nation on the coast of BC, which is attempting to recover from a fuel spill and to set best practices for emergency response to coastal oil spills.

Barbara cited some current Okanagan concerns related to forestry, nitrates in some water, and managing ecological concerns as local development increases rapidly.  Outside her work with EDRF, Barbara is actively involved with the Vernon Climate Action Plan and the Okanagan Climate Hub which now extends from Osoyoos to Vernon to Salmon Arm. The latter discusses best practices for environmental protection.