The Stoney Creek Environment Committee was co-founded by Jennifer Atchison in 1994. At that time, Stoney Creek had undergone various modifications, driven largely by the development of the neighbourhood. On realizing that there were many different parties who had rights of way or other interests in the watershed, and noting a lack of discussion between them about the issues facing Stoney Creek, Jennifer called a meeting, and the SCEC was born.
Through her tenacity and dedication, Jennifer promoted and defended Stoney Creek, and her work paid off. Jennifer’s engagement and inclusion of young people from the schools and the Ganymede Explorers brought the community in to the SCEC’s activities. The young people were always impressed with her energy and enthusiasm, and she loved working with them. Gradually through partnerships, with groups including the Cities of Burnaby and Coquitlam, Metro Vancouver, BC Hydro, BC Transmission, Simon Fraser University, Dept Of Fisheries And Oceans, and the Burnaby School Board, Stoney Creek has transformed from a waterway blockaded to fish, to a flourishing salmon rearing stream – a feat, considering that salmon had been absent from its waters for nearly 50 years! Sadly, Jennifer had another battle to front. In the end, cancer took her from us in 2010, but her legacy lives on.
Today the membership of the SCEC carries on the work of protecting the watershed, and engaging the community through events like the Great Salmon Send Off. We also continue to monitor and enhance habitat through our projects and stewardship activities. As you walk along the trails along Stoney Creek you may see the bench dedicated to Jennifer Atchison. We know she would be happy to know that the work of the SCEC continues to succeed.
A tribute to Jennifer Atchison was posted on the Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board (SEHAB) website, written by our DFO Community Advisor. Clearly she is remembered and recognized by many, and this letter outlines many of her wonderful qualities and achievements over the years. Some of her honours are highlighted in the timeline of the SCEC, below.
Our meeting place on the grounds of the Stoney Creek Community School is named in her honour, the Jennifer Atchison Environmental Centre.
1994 – The Stoney Creek Environment Committee was co-founded by Jennifer Atchison
1998 – Construction of the fish ladder under the Burlington Northern/CN Railway
2000 – Jennifer Atchison and the SCEC receive the Burnaby Environment Award for Community Stewardship for their work in the Stoney Creek watershed
2003 – Jennifer Atchison, and fellow streamkeeper Elmer Rudolph, who works on the neighbouring Brunette River, are recipients of National Recreational Fisheries Awards
2004 – a collaborative effort resulted in removal of the last barrier to fish by installing baffles in the Lougheed culvert, bringing salmon into upper Stoney Creek for the first time in nearly 50 years!
2007 – Jennifer Atchison named to the City of Burnaby Local Heroes List
2007 – Jennifer Atchison receives a community achievement award from Lieutenant Governor of BC Stephen Pointand in Victoria
2010 – After 9 years of water monitoring and advocacy, construction starts on SFU’s new salt shed
2010 – Jennifer Atchison receives Burnaby Environmental Award for community stewardship
2010 – Jennifer Atchison receives Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Hungerford Award
2011 – Success! – SFU salt storage moves to the new facility
2012 – construction of 3 weirs south of Beaverbrook Drive creating new salmon spawning habitat
2015 – The Great Salmon Send-Off (GSSO) celebrates 25 years!
2015 – SCEC undergoes a rebranding, sees a surge of new volunteers, and enjoys a feeling of renewed purpose and vitality