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9 Random Acts of Kindness That Will Make You Proud to Be Canadian

Reader's Digest Canada Logo By Rebecca Tucker, Reader’s Digest Canada of Reader's Digest Canada | Slide 1 of 9: In this era ofenvironmental crises, it’s perhaps not surprising that Stella Bowles of Upper LaHave, N.S., found one in her own backyard. What is unique is her determination to do something about it.
The 100-kilometre LaHave River runs from Annapolis County to the Atlantic and passes through Stella’s community of Upper LaHave, on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. Back in 2015, the pretty waterway was deemed by many locals as unfit for swimming, but Stella wanted to know why. The then 11-year-old was distressed to learn what was causing the pollution: raw sewage being dumped directly into the water by hundreds of her neighbours.
’I was disgusted,’ Stella says, when she found out 600 homes were using straight-pipes to pump waste from toilet to river without any filtration. She decided to look into the problem for her Grade 6 science project. With the mentorship of a retired local physician, Stella learned how to test the water in the LaHave. Her results showed fecal contamination above Health Canada guidelines, and the project would go on to earn a silver medal at a cross-Canada science fair in 2017. But locals were boating on the river without knowing they were being exposed to potentially dangerous bacteria, viruses and parasites.
With the help of her mother, Andrea Conrad, Stella began to raise awareness about the LaHave’s contamination problem. Soon she was making local headlines and lobbying politicians. In spring 2017, the municipal, provincial and federal governments agreed to eliminate all straight-pipes in Nova Scotia by 2023.
The LaHave still isn’t safe for swimming, but it should be safe for the sixth graders of Upper LaHave’s future. Stella, now 14, continues to press for more stringent rules to protect the river and this year travelled around her province to teach other kids how to test their local waterways and advocate for better stewardship.
In August, Stella’s ongoing work earned her an International Eco-Hero Award, which recognizes the efforts of environmental youth activists. ’I never thought I’d be where I am today because of a science fair project,’ says Stella, who is contemplating a career in environmental law.
Learn about the B.C. town that’s using dead fish to restore its rivers.

To Save a River

In this era of environmental crises, it’s perhaps not surprising that Stella Bowles of Upper LaHave, N.S., found one in her own backyard. What is unique is her determination to do something about it.

The 100-kilometre LaHave River runs from Annapolis County to the Atlantic and passes through Stella’s community of Upper LaHave, on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. Back in 2015, the pretty waterway was deemed by many locals as unfit for swimming, but Stella wanted to know why. The then 11-year-old was distressed to learn what was causing the pollution: raw sewage being dumped directly into the water by hundreds of her neighbours.

’I was disgusted,’ Stella says, when she found out 600 homes were using straight-pipes to pump waste from toilet to river without any filtration. She decided to look into the problem for her Grade 6 science project. With the mentorship of a retired local physician, Stella learned how to test the water in the LaHave. Her results showed fecal contamination above Health Canada guidelines, and the project would go on to earn a silver medal at a cross-Canada science fair in 2017. But locals were boating on the river without knowing they were being exposed to potentially dangerous bacteria, viruses and parasites.

With the help of her mother, Andrea Conrad, Stella began to raise awareness about the LaHave’s contamination problem. Soon she was making local headlines and lobbying politicians. In spring 2017, the municipal, provincial and federal governments agreed to eliminate all straight-pipes in Nova Scotia by 2023.

The LaHave still isn’t safe for swimming, but it should be safe for the sixth graders of Upper LaHave’s future. Stella, now 14, continues to press for more stringent rules to protect the river and this year travelled around her province to teach other kids how to test their local waterways and advocate for better stewardship.

In August, Stella’s ongoing work earned her an International Eco-Hero Award, which recognizes the efforts of environmental youth activists. ’I never thought I’d be where I am today because of a science fair project,’ says Stella, who is contemplating a career in environmental law.

Learn about the B.C. town that’s using dead fish to restore its rivers.

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