Meet Paul Lemoine, Our New Board Chair (Q+A)
The Adventure Begins…
A little bit before the 51st Annual General Meeting (AGM) in October, Paul Lemoine was asked if he would be interested in becoming the president of our board of directors. Then, during the first board meeting after the AGM, two members put forth his nomination, and the vote was unanimous – Paul was appointed as board chair and the adventure began!
The CPAWS Ottawa Valley team is very excited to work with him going forward, and our communications coordinator was able to involve him in a virtual Q+A session – see below for his answers.
Why did you want to become CPAWS Ottawa Valley’s new board chair?
I didn’t plan on becoming president, but I am honoured to have been selected by the board members.
Brian Roadhouse, our past president, had agreed to become president on a temporary basis. That was around three years ago. So quite understandably, Brian was looking for someone to take over.
The board members are very active and engaged individuals. Some members work full time and others are members of numerous boards and associations. So, their time is limited and taking on new responsibilities wasn’t possible.
I have been a board member for a few years and have been a member of the Gatineau Park Committee since 2012. My experience with CPAWS OV has been very positive, I’ve met many interesting people and have enjoyed taking part in the chapter’s campaigns and activities. I have always felt that the work done by CPAWS OV is very important, and perhaps now more than ever.
When Brian and John McDonnell, our Executive Director, asked me to consider becoming president, I agreed knowing that I would be well out of my comfort zone. However, I do like a challenge…
What are your key responsibilities/duties?
The bylaws state that the president “shall preside over all meetings of the Advisory Board and General Meetings of the Chapter and be the chief spokesperson for the Chapter.”
I see the role of president during board meetings as being one of a facilitator and consensus builder. Board meetings should allow members to fully express their opinions on agenda topics. The president is to keep the meetings on topic, find areas of agreement and hopefully arrive at a decision. Oh yes, and to make sure meetings finish on time.
The relationship between the President and the Executive Director is key to the success of the chapter. CPAWS OV is extremely fortunate to have John McDonnell as our Executive Director. It has been through John’s leadership that CPAWS OV has grown in size and capacity over the years. I look forward to working with John and our team in continuing to increase the influence of CPAWS OV in the Ottawa Valley and the Outaouais.
Why do you think it’s important to protect our natural areas for future generations?
There are many reasons to protect our natural areas. Some reasons have to do with the role that natural areas have in helping to mitigate climate change by absorbing CO2 emissions. This is a vital role for the future of life on our planet.
However, I want future generations to be able to see, hear and experience nature in the way that I and my generation have had the privilege of doing. Everyone must be able to see what the few remaining wild rivers, like the Dumoine, are actually like. Seeing all the different species of birds and animals in their natural habitat can’t be replicated in a zoo.
The unspoiled nature that still exists in Canada must be saved from destruction. Because once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
Where is your favourite place in the Ottawa Valley to go for a walk outdoors?
There are so many wonderful places to go for walks it’s hard to choose just one. My wife and I have a small farm in Lac des Loups, Quebec. Lately, we’ve discovered a trail that starts at our farm and goes into Gatineau Park. Lac des Loups is located at the far northwestern end of Gatineau Park and the lake empties by means of a small river into Lac La Pêche. You can follow an old road along the river that brings you to a lake and farther along there’s an impressive waterfall. The area is not well known and is a perfect place to go for a quiet walk in nature.
Where is your favourite place in the Ottawa Valley to be out on the water?
Unfortunately, I don’t get out on the water very often. I do enjoy cycling and try as much as possible to go on the PPJ Cycloparc trail. The trail follows the path of the former PPJ Railroad that used to go 92 km from Aylmer, Quebec to Pembroke, Ontario. The tracks have been replaced by fine crushed stone and there are no big hills to climb. We often pack a lunch and spend the day going from where the trail starts in Wyman, Quebec to Campbell’s Bay, Quebec and sometimes farther. The trail takes you through forests, wetlands and farm fields. A favorite part is from the town of Shawville to Campbell’s Bay. In some places you can see up the valley for miles. Campbell’s Bay is on the Ottawa River and from there the trail follows the river to Fort Coulonge and on to Pembroke. It’s a fun ride and a good workout for an old guy.
Which season is your favourite for being outdoors? Why?
I used to really love the Summer. It was just the best season of the year. School was out, the days were longer and warmer. I could easily visit new places and things were good.
In the last couple of decades, my love affair with summer has kind of hit the rocks. Summer has now become a season to survive rather than enjoy unreservedly. The days are still long, of course, which I enjoy but they are so often unbearably hot. This last summer it was over 30 most of the time. It was 37 one day and I couldn’t believe it. Did I mention the humidity?
All this to say that Fall is now my favorite season. It’s a beautiful time of year when the oppressive heat has gone, the crops are ready for the harvest and the colours of the changing leaves are incredible. Most years, this one being the exception due to the pandemic, there’s a kind of excitement as school starts again and other fall and winter activities begin. So, Fall wins as my favorite season.
CPAWS Ottawa Valley welcomes Paul to the team and looks forward to collaborating with him in our work to protect and promote biodiversity in the Ottawa Valley and surrounding areas.