Wasps are an occupational hazard for the Beaufort Watershed Stewards. Not so much because we run into them when we’re sampling but rather because they’re attracted to our beer cans. But before you form a mental picture of a tipsy group of citizen scientists thrashing drunkenly through the bush, let me clarify. The beer cans are empties that we have found or have been given to us. They are a major source of income for our little group. And let me clarify further. When I say ‘WE have found’ I really mean “Lise has found’. Lise Laguë is an avid cyclist who regularly rides our two highways, old and new. She developed the habit, while out on her rides, of picking up the empties that dot our landscape. Her ability to spot a can of Lucky hidden in a roadside thicket is legendary. But finding cans is the easy part. The various cans and bottles, whether Lise has found them or they’ve been donated to us, must be sorted, stored, and transported to town where they are converted to cash. Lise is the prime mover behind this herculean task.
One might think that such an important, though unglamorous, role would be enough for one person. But Lise, quite understandably, insists on being part of the more picturesque activities of a watershed group as well; the ones where you get to wear chest waders. She’s been up the creek and in the creek for every one of our flow measurement experiments. And a glance at our sampling calendar, where her name pops up regularly, will attest to the fact that she’s a mainstay of our sampling program, even though chest waders aren’t required for sampling.
Lise’s background is filled with water so it should come as no surprise that she’s comfortable being in creeks. Growing up, she was a competitive swimmer. She spent ten years in the Coast Guard, much of it as a Navigation Officer, with time in the Arctic, the St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes and a random trip to Bermuda. After she left the Coast Guard she continued her aquatic theme by working for the Canadian Hydrographic Service translating Sailing Directions for marine charts.
Lise’s “official” role with BWS is as our Secretary and this may be the most important thing she does overall. Her meticulous minutes and agendas keep us on track from one meeting to the next. She keeps track of our important documents, records, and official correspondence.
But bottom line, whether she’s dealing with documents, recording water quality parameters, navigating a new path through the bush, or standing in the middle of a cloud of wasps sorting empties, BWS would not be the same without her.