Spring Reflections on a Busy and Remarkable Six Months

This post to intended to be a happy 2015 one, then a happy World Water Day / Canada Water Week post, and then an Earth Day post. But as you can see, time has gotten away from me and lots of things have happened, accumulating over time to make this a more and more daunting task. But its been a very wonderful, water-filled six months and it would be a shame not to document and share it. So here is a highlight reel!

CWN-Logo2015-Primary-ENI started working at Canadian Water Network this past November as a Project Officer for the Canadian Municipal Water Consortium. It has been an amazing role to get into, where my day-to-day is always different, I am constantly learning, and I get to apply my technical understanding as well as continually developing my communication, project management and creative skill sets. As a kickoff to my career, this has been more than I could have hoped for in terms of opportunities for intellectual growth, building connections throughout the country, and knowing that what I do is impactful. To explain in a sentence what CWN’s role is or what the Consortium is accomplishing is always a challenge; we operate in a unique way to solve problems that require collaboration and the most current understanding of science. I find that a lot of contextualizing goes into my explanations. As there are many resources about CWN and the Consortium available online,I encourage you to read about it and ask me questions anytime: http://www.cwn-rce.ca/initiatives/municipal-consortium/

At the beginning of March, 2015, CWN held its Connecting Water Resources Conference, with the theme of bringing knowledge into action.There were three conference tracks: Blue Cities, Resources and Agriculture, and Small and Aboriginal Communities. I was honoured to help organize the panelists for the Blue Cities concurrent sessions with the help of Kaitlin Gibbens, Grahame Farquhar, and Erin Mahoney. The information conveyed regarding the balance of grey and green infrastructure, emerging contaminants on the environment, and international management strategies that can be applied in a Canadian context were so insightful and informative.

https://vimeo.com/124480616.

Personally the conference held many highlights, however seeing old friends and making new ones stands out to me. Prior to the start of the conference, we held a Students and Young Professionals Committee workshop about engagement, networking and planning outside-of-the-box events. The SYP team used this opportunity to set goals for the conference and think about how to get the most out of the following three days. For any person attending a conference in the future, I encourage you to actively consider what you want to get out of your experience, whether its as specific as meeting three people working in your field or as general as finding inspiration for a new project. I believe that heading into something having considered what is possible leverages such opportunities to their fullest.cwr2

Another personal highlight of mine was to see part of my thesis work with IBM and the Southern Ontario Water Consortium showcased. Conference attendees received pamphlets about Dr.Dave Rudolph and team’s Smart Watershed work and the video I previously featured was also playing on loop. It was a pretty proud moment for me!

There are so many other things I could include here, from the messages of empowering speakers to the meaningful conversations with friends over drinks after many hours of conferencing, to the amazing little touches that make this conference so special, but I’ll just leave it here. If you want to see more about Connecting Water Resources you can read, watch and listen all about it here:

https://storify.com/CdnWaterNetwork/connecting-water-resources-2015

http://cwr2015.ca/

cwr4

In the last month, I also received some exciting accolades. At the risk of sounding boastful, I’m going to share these because — well, I’m excited! And why not share this joyful news! I was named as a finalist in Water Canada’s Water’s Next Awards in the Young Professional category. I’m truly honoured to be named among youth water networkmy amazing peers and friends, Mikhail, Megan and Muaz, who I have had the wonderful opportunity of working with on CWN and Waterlution initiatives over the last few years. I will be attending the Canadian Water Summit and the Water’s Next Gala on June 25, 2015 in Vancouver. Thank you Water Canada for making such an effort to recognize the amazing water work across the country! Additionally, I was contacted by the Water Youth Network in April and was featured as their Water Youth Leader of the Month. If you want to read this post or learn more about the Water Youth Network, you can do so here: http://www.wateryouthnetwork.org/archives/1786

As expected, this post has gotten rather lengthy and I feel as though this is only the tip of the iceberg (#obligatorywatercliche) with respect to everything that has been going on the last six months. In my test post, I’ll share my insights from Waterlution’s Transformative Leaders of the Future Program, include images of the Oceans Bound! exhibit at the Waterloo Region Museum, elaborate more on CWN’s SYPC and much more.

But for now, I’ll stop typing and head outside. I’m participating in this month’s 30×30 Challenge organized by the David Suzuki Foundation (who incidentally liked my Instagram photo – oh yeah, I got Instagram!). If you want to learn more about this endeavour to reconnect with nature, check out their website or look for #natureiscalling.

https://instagram.com/p/2MTWgXR_7m/?taken-by=cailinhillier

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