Welcome to Conservation Champions, a new series, introducing you to the staff of Kawartha Conservation who work to protect the people, property and environment within the Kawartha watershed.
Kawartha Conservation balances environmental capacity and human need, while managing natural resource features that are essential for sustaining water quality and quantity, through watershed planning, stewardship, environmental monitoring and research, and management of conservation and natural areas.
Our programs and services are focused within the natural boundaries of the Kawartha watershed, which extend from Lake Scugog in the southwest and Pigeon Lake in the east, to Balsam Lake in the northwest and Crystal Lake in the northeast – a total of 2,563 square kilometres.
Today, we introduce you to Katie Jane Harris, Resources Planner.
Name: Katie Jane Harris
Title: Resources Planner
Q: What is your education background?
A: I took the 5-yr Geography Co-op program at Waterloo, specializing in Environment, Resources and Economy. I graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies.
I am also a Provisional Member of Ontario Professional Planners Institute.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: I’m protecting environmental features and functions and in the process, keeping people, property and investments from being put at risk – essentially saving taxpayers from bad planning. Plus I’m surrounded by people who are passionate about the environment too, which makes for a great atmosphere in the workplace.
Q: Why does what you do matter?
A: People can become easily disconnected from the environment. My job is to help the public understand their connection to, and impact on the environment when it comes to development proposals.
Environmental Planning is a multidisciplinary profession where you have to be aware of a number of technical disciplines and policies and always think big picture.
My job is to think about all the connections, linkages, interrelationships and impacts to the environment that can arise from a proposal and help steer the development through the process so it can be achieved, but not at the cost of the environment.
Q: What advice would you give others who are interested in a similar position as yours?
A: You’ve got to have the passion, because it can be a challenging job. Knowing that what you’re doing is for the greater good helps get you through difficult situations.
Always be professional, courteous, open, consistent; and be accessible to your municipal partners and public.