Bowker Creek Initiative celebrates 10-year anniversary; recognizes leadership provided by Chair Jody Watson



 Bowker Creek Blueprint established precedent for “moving from awareness to action”

The Bowker Creek Urban Watershed Renewal Initiative (BCI) is a unique multi-jurisdictional effort. It is a collaboration between local governments, community groups, post-secondary institutions and private citizens to improve the health of Bowker Creek and its watershed. The BC has developed the Bowker Creek Blueprint: A 100-year action plan to restore the Bowker Creek watershed. 

When the BCI Steering Committee met on April 12th 2012, they surprised Chair Jody Watson with a special award to recognize her sustained commitment and leadership over many years. They also recognized the contributions made by Natalie, Bandringa, Bowker Creek Coordinator. Ian Graeme, a founding member of the BCI, made the presentation. 


Soren Henrich, Natalie Bandringa, Jody Watson, Ian Graeme(Bower Creek Initiative Steering Committee) 


“I was reviewing my calendar this morning and the date April 5, 2002 jumped out – does anyone know the significance of that date? Well, 10 years ago last Thursday was the date of the first day of the Bowker Creek Watershed Forum.”


The Forum was the process that led to the Watershed Plan, the formal establishment of the Bowker Creek Initiative and the creation of this Steering Committee. Ten years later we’ve just achieved some very significant milestones: the $738,000 federal gas tax grant – which of iteself is a tremendous achievement; completion of the Blueprint, of course; and now, the video project that tells our story. So it is an opportune time to recognize a couple of people on the committee – namely our Chair, Jody Watson; and our Coordinator, Natalie Bandringa.”


“As we all know collaboration can be really hard work; and it usually doesn’t just happen. It takes genuine and committed leadership to cultivate those relationships, build trust and a community. I believe you will all agree that Jody and Natalie have provided us with some remarkable leadership and we’d like to recognize that leadership here today.” 

“Jody, here a just a few of your leadership qualities that impress me: You excel at communicating the vision and instilling a sense of mission that is true to the watershed plan. You have put a lot of emphasis on developing relationships and trust. You are a great communicator and are always looking for opportunities and focussing us on results.”

“Natalie, we are very fortunate to have you. You are one of those exceptional people that brings strong technical knowledge and understanding with superior people skills. That combination has really inspired many in the community and is helping cultivate a sense of ownership. It is that sense of ownership that is so essential if we are to move from ideas to action.”

“So on behalf of the steering committee, I again want to thank both of you and express how valuable you are to the success of the BCI. Yes, it took a group effort to conclude the Grant and the Blueprint but these two individuals did most of the ‘heavy lifting’,” concluded Ian Graeme. 

“The recognition gifts presented to Jody and Natalie are silkscreen prints of the artwork decorating the Bowker Creek greenway path at Browning Park. A drawing of trout by Saanich Park Planner, Becky Goodall, was the inspiration for the design; I embellished the design with more plants and animals; and the frames are made by Ian from salvaged Yellow Cedar lumber – representing community collaboration in the Bowker Creek Initiative,” added Soren Henrich. He represents the Friends of Bowker Creek on the BCI Steering Committee.


 In February 2010, the Bowker Creek Forum attracted provincial attention to the precedent-setting Bowker Creek Blueprint. To celebrate the accomplishments of the Bowker Creek Initiative, and to provide a record of this transformational event, the Partnership for Water Sustainability established “Bowker Forum homepage”on the Waterbucket website. To access a set of stories that elaborate on why the Bowker Creek Blueprint is precedent-setting, click here



Leave a Reply