Youngest of the group, 23 year-old Kacie McLaren is an Algonquin from Kebaowek First Nation. She has an Environmental Technician diploma from Canadore college. She heard about the fish habitat restoration project from her dad, and decided to apply because as an environmentalist she is passionate about protecting mother nature.
“The earth is what brings everyone together, it keeps us connected. We will not have a society if we continue to destroy the environment. We are a part of the earth, and the earth is a part of us.”
Kacie enjoyed working on the restoration project because she was able to implement the theory and tools that she learned in school, while learning about walleye habitat and how to restore and protect it.
She said that the knowledge gained has helped her understand the impact road construction and other forestry activities can have on the watershed and water quality.
In the future, Kacie wants to engage with community members to bring awareness and show that the youth care. Youth want to fix the damage from the past and make the Land start healing again.
“It is extremely important for me to protect our traditional rights and lands. There was a time when we didn’t need all of these resources to survive. I know that times have drastically changed, but I am a firm believer that we can live in balance with contemporary times.”