Fernie Secondary students remove cigarette butts and plastic waste from wetland and riparian areas in Fernie. Photo courtesy of Elk River Alliance

Fernie students tackle litter issue

Elk River Alliance hosts cleanup; appoints new Executive Director


Elk River Alliance

Grade 8 and 9 students at Fernie Secondary School joined forces with the Elk River Alliance last month to learn about what happens to our stormwater in the Elk Valley and what possible contaminants exist in runoff headed to the Elk River.

Students took action to clean the areas surrounding the McDougall wetland, Maiden Lake and the trail along the Elk River from the West Fernie bridge all the way to Coal Creek.

Refuse was removed, sorted and counted, with students finding 127 beverage containers, 238 plastic bags and a staggering 867 cigarette butts.

Students will be presenting the results of their research to the Fernie City Council later this year, urging the City of Fernie to take action in addressing growing concerns regarding cigarette butts and single-use plastic contaminants in our stormwater.

Any Elk Valley residents that would like to get involved with similar projects are encouraged to get in touch with the Elk River Alliance at info@elkriveralliance.ca.

The Elk River Alliance will be hosting several events to help improve stormwater quality throughout the year, including a workshop series for homeowners.

ERA appoints new Executive Director

The Elk River Alliance Board of Directors is proud to announce the appointment of Paul von Wittgenstein as Executive Director. Elk River Alliance is a community-based water charity that connects people to the Elk River, ensuring it is drinkable, fishable and swimmable for future generations, and has been doing so as a local organization since 2010.

Paul comes to the Elk River Alliance with a wealth of knowledge and extensive experience working in British Columbia and Asia. He is a professional entrepreneur, business consultant, talent development specialist, corporate trainer and business coach with more than 25 years of rich experience. In addition to an early career in natural resource management, he is also an avid local outdoor enthusiast.

Now completing a 20-year entrepreneurial assignment of international business development in Asia, Paul is returning to the East Kootenays to work with the Elk River Alliance and other local organizations to help improve their success with planning, establishment, growth, and innovation.

“I am pleased with the opportunity to work with a regional community organization like the Elk River Alliance,” said von Wittgenstein. “The Elk River is a valuable resource that needs protecting through the services that the Alliance provides.”

Chair of the Elk River Alliance, Steve Marlborough, said: “We are thrilled to have Paul join our team and we look forward to him applying his previous knowledge, experience, and expertise to enable the Alliance to grow and expand.”

To learn more about the Elk River Alliance, please visit us on our website at Elkriveralliance.ca.

To contact Paul, please call our Fernie office at 250-423-3322 or email him at paul@elkriveralliance.ca.

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