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Ivan Polchinski, Kebaowek First Nation

Water First Intern: Ivan Polchinski

Before starting the restoration project, Ivan was working with Land Management at Kebaowek First Nation in various forestry-related jobs. As the mentor of the group, Ivan shared extensive knowledge about the traditional lands and waterways surrounding the community.

He said that he applied for the mentor position because it gave him the opportunity to work with other people and to learn about different aspects of restoration from the biologist and Water First staff. “I have fished my whole life on Lake Kipawa but I never knew how vulnerable the fish are.” Ivan appreciates the knowledge that he has gained about walleye, its habitat, and restoration techniques during the project.

Ivan hopes that he can continue providing knowledge and guidance to youth in the community. “Knowledge is the key, learning from each other and getting the knowledge out there can help the fisheries for the future. I love the fact that the youth in school are being taught about environmental stewardship and restoration through the Water First education workshops.”

Projects like this are important because they provide knowledge and experience to the youth which they can take back to their communities and take ownership of the environmental stewardship. It is a perfect blend of western science and traditional knowledge.

When asked about the future, Ivan paused and said “I see a couple years down the road people fishing, discussing the increase in fish populations. I hope they understand & acknowledge the impact of the work the interns did for the lake and how they can help. The younger generation coming and understanding, this would be a big plus.”