Stephanie Bolt, 41, is a Kitchissippi volunteer who was recently recognized for her work with Ottawa Riverkeeper with the Dan Brunton Volunteer of The Year Award.
The award is named in honour of Ottawa naturalist and environmental consultant, Dan Brunton, who was also one of the founder of the Riverkeeper organization.
Bolt has been volunteering with Riverkeeper for over a year now. The organization is a federally regulated not-for-profit founded in 2001 with the goal of preserving the natural beauty of our Ottawa River.
Bolt’s experience as a corporate lawyer in Toronto has been a valuable asset in helping the Riverkeeper organization keep up with changing government regulations regarding nonprofits, “It’s just about better governance, better accountability and transparency,” she explains.
She moved to Westboro nine years ago with her husband and new born son. Bolt put her law career on hold to be a stay-at-home mother for her growing family. She had just sent her two children off to their last day of school before summer when we met at Westboro beach.
With the kids spending their days in school, Bolt’s time was freed up to tackle some personal projects. River Keeper was an organization she had been drawn to for some time, “I had read about them over the years, I thought it was great, the work that they were doing,” she says.
The naturalist path is quite a departure from her history working for major corporations in the big city of Toronto, But Bolt sees it as an exciting new direction for her career, “Somewhere in this environmental realm is where I started volunteering, and hopefully where I would like to start working,” she says.
Riverkeeper always has projects on the go, including a system for mapping Ottawa’s beaches with the ability to better monitor their ever changing status, as-well-as constant efforts to keep the shoreline clean and usable for everyone.
Riverkeeper is always looking to take on new volunteers, especially those who can help with translating documents between French and English. Anyone interested can visit ottawariverkeeper.ca for more information on how to join the ranks of folks like Bolt, who take pride in the Ottawa River, “We’re so lucky to have it at our back door, I would just encourage everyone to recognize it and use it,” she says.