Photo from Katie Stiel.

Katie Stiel’s volunteer and work experiences are so incredibly unique, making this environmentalist so exciting to read about!

Since 2009, Stiel has been the campaign coordinator for the Good Neighbour Campaign at Environment Hamilton. She is responsible for educating residents on the impacts of local air pollution and empowering them to take action and initiatives within their communities. She also conducts and utilizes research to create and implement campaign strategies within Environment Hamilton. Examples of some initiatives are the White Flag program, which had over 400 participants, and the Lichen Monitoring Study, which trained 140 high school students and community members. She has also worked with the local government and become involved with the new air regulation that is being implemented, plus eight other standards that were non-existent before. As stated by Stiel, “This position has enabled me to become very informed about air quality concerns in Hamilton and the way I can empower people to become more concerned about this issue.”

One of the very unique volunteer experiences Stiel holds is that she is the Producer and Host of Hamilton Eat Local on Cable 14 News. She produces four monthly cooking segments, which intend to promote the benefits and availability of local food within the Hamilton region. Each segment consists of cooking one complete recipe on location, alongside recruited local food producers, suppliers, and chefs.

Stiel’s approach to this project came through her Masters thesis, which truly emphasizes her passion for local grown food produce. On her own accord, she set up a meeting with the “eat local” staff at Cable 14 and showed them her research on this topic. On her own, she finds the farmers and chooses the recipes that are going to be aired on television. She has been shooting since January, and the program has now been expanded into two 20-minute monthly segments.

With passion like Stiel’s, The Starfish believes these are the kinds of people that can truly make a difference in their communities. Once she finishes her Masters in Environmental Education and Communication at Royal Roads University, Stiel plans on staying in the environmental field and teaching youth about environmental issues and regulations. Since her passion lies within local food produce, ideally she would love to move into this sector of work in the future. Keep up the amazing work, Katie!