Meredith Brown steps down as Riverkeeper
Meredith Brown will be leaving her fifteen-year position as the Ottawa Riverkeeper at the end of this year. Still dedicated to the vision of the organization, she will continue to stay involved as a member of the board of directors.
“Leadership change is healthy for any organization,” said Brown. “Our organization has never been stronger. Our board of directors is fully engaged, experienced and influential. The staff are deeply committed to our mission and our Executive Director, Patrick Nadeau, who has been leading the team for almost three years, brings an impressive mix of skills, experience and dedication to the organization. We continue to attract excellent partners and project opportunities,” said Brown.
Ottawa Riverkeeper was founded in 2001. A volunteer board of directors immediately went to work securing charitable status for the organization and becoming a licensed member of Waterkeeper Alliance. The organization’s first two partners, The Ontario Trillium Foundation and Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), were instrumental early supporters. Brown was hired in 2004 and became the organization’s Riverkeeper and founding Executive Director.
In the early days, Brown shared an office with MEC store manager Colleen Mooney, learning everything she could about the Ottawa River and the people living and doing business within its large watershed boundaries. It didn’t take her long to bring in new funding, hire staff and find new office space to support the growing organization.
“The organization grew from one staff member (me) to a solid team of 10 staff and hundreds of volunteers. Our two original partners are still with us 15 years later and we now have a long list of partners and donors who continue to support our vision of swimmable, drinkable, fishable water,” said Brown.
Over the years, Ottawa Riverkeeper has become one of the strongest Waterkeeper Organizations in the movement. “Our biggest strength is our people,” claimed Brown. “The best way to protect a river the size of the Ottawa is to develop a very large, very dedicated river constituency – people who are willing to take action to restore and protect their rivers, lakes and creeks,” she added.
A search for the next Riverkeeper has begun and Brown will stay at Ottawa Riverkeeper until a replacement is hired to ensure a smooth transition. “I thank everyone who has helped and supported me in my position over the years. I am extremely proud of everything we’ve accomplished together,” she concluded. (AB)