Johanna Saaltink with daughter Elmie Saaltink and granddaughter Lia McKinnon
Three Generations of Adventurers
What do you love about the Okanagan?
Johanna: I love the open spaces and the beautiful views.
Elmie: I love the colours. They’re very calming colours – the yellows, creams, blues. And I love the water, the contrast between the dry land and the water.
Lia: I love all the different habitat types. The fact that you can go from the lake to alpine meadows, wetlands and dry forest all within a short drive. There are so many amazing trails up in the mountains and so many opportunities to get outside and experience it all.
What do you worry about when you think about the Okanagan and the environment in the future? Why is a healthy environment important to you?
Johanna: For me the increase in population is a worry.
Elmie: There’s a lot of pressure to develop all the land that’s available. And that development happens in some very fragile habitats. I’m afraid that once it’s gone, it’s very, very difficult to get it back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Lia: Grasslands or shrub steppes which are really endangered ecosystems tend to be seen as wastelands and there are a lot of species at risk that are dependent on those habitats. These are old growth systems of the desert so these plants are hundreds of years old and they require a certain lack of disturbance.
What do you think about a household levy of $10/average/year? What could the benefits of a South Okanagan Conservation Fund be?
Lia: I think it’s a great idea. Having those funds available is so helpful for local groups to leverage outside funds. If you collect $10 per household you can probably get $20 per household from federal and provincial sources and other organizations. Those matching contributions are significant, enough to take on bigger projects.
Elmie: I think about my children and grandchildren and I really believe the land doesn’t belong to us. We’re borrowing it from future generations. We should be taking care of it.