Whether it’s monitoring ground water security or learning to grow tomatoes, chances are Warren Lee will be there.
Lee received the Highlands community service award, May 7. It has been awarded to fewer than 10 people.
“He is unfailingly positive, constructive and knowledgeable,” said Highlands Mayor Jane Mendum, adding Lee was honoured with a standing ovation in the Caleb Pike schoolhouse when she gave him the award.
Lee was nominated by fellow Highlands resident Eric Bonham for the award.
“In the community he is a man of many parts and belongs to many committees,” Bonham said.
“Whatever the event is, he is always there with a helping hand. He is a natural and unassuming leader.”
As an ocean modelling analyst with Environment Canada, Lee has brought his talents and education to Highlands by pioneering a weather station project.
The five weather stations in Highlands, including one at Lee’s home, collect temperature data every minute.
The information is then sent automatically to the University of Victoria and posted on a website.
“They keep track of temperature changes,” Lee said, explaining the weather stations are totally separate from his work.
The weather stations program has been operated through the Highlands Stewardship Association for the past six years. Lee is chair of the association.
Another environmental project Lee has been working on is through the Highlands Ground Water Task Force.
“Our community uses only well water. How much well water will have in the future?” Lee questions.
The Highlands ground water study, after several years, is nearly complete with Phase 3 of the project soon to be released. The study aims to gather more information about the aquifer under Highlands, which supplies water to about 680 homes.
Phase 1 involved a water quality assessment and Phase 2 covered planning groundwater protection.
Phase 3 includes collecting supplemental data for potential groundwater contaminant hazards, and starting a groundwater monitoring program.
While Golder Associates, an environmental services firm, is undertaking the study, Lee has been adding input to the process.
“Small communities are important, everyone knows each other, we are all spread out and your neighbours aren’t just next door,” Lee said humbly. “It’s being part of the community.”
The talented Warren Lee
Aside from looking at everything with a scientific approach, Warren Lee also helps organize social events such as the annual Highlands Fling in September.
And when Lee wanted to learn more about food security he helped organize the Highlands local food group. Members of the group travel to each other’s gardens, learning new growing techniques and swapping seeds.
“The kids are discovering all sorts of vegetables they didn’t know about,” Lee said explaining broad beans has become a new food to hit the dinner table.
Lee, with his wife and two daughters, are also raising two male rabbits. The males are used for breeding.
“We don’t eat the rabbits, they are pets for us,” said Lee, explaining that the bucks are used by others who do raise rabbits as a food source.