The Columbia Valley will be graced with the presence of two young professionals this summer who came to Invermere for work that they love.
Andrea Smillie is the new outreach co-ordinator for Wildsight, and Chloë Danielle Marson has filled the summer curator position at Pynelogs Cultural Centre.
Both women will occupy their respective roles for the duration of the summer.
Hailing from Calgary, Andrea graduated from the University of Calgary in December where she studied environmental science. She became aware of the opening at Wildsight through her friend, Luke Wonneck, who preceded Andrea in her position.
While she’d heard good things about the valley from Luke and others, Andrea had no first-hand experience in the area before her arrival in February.
“I really like the slow pace. People are super friendly, and there are lots of community organizations,” she said. “It’s a really social community and easy to connect and fit into. People are really welcoming.”
Andrea is planning to spend free time this summer kayaking on the waterways and hiking the valley’s impressive trails. Before her time is over, she hopes to lower the average membership age of Wildsight.
“Wildsight is a really good organization; really well-established, but right now it doesn’t have a big young person involvement,” she said. “I want to get more people in their 20s and 30s involved.”
Chloë — the new right-hand help at Pynelogs — was also lured to the region by the natural and pristine beauty.
“I wanted to be surrounded by nature. That was hard to accomplish in Toronto,” she said. [Editor’s note: See page 10 for the story of her most recent project.]
She came to the valley on April 19th to begin work as a farm hand at the Saunder’s Family Farm. But as a painter, Chloë found her skillset better matched an opening at Pynelogs. She still spends a few hours each week at Saunder’s, but works the lion’s share at the home of the Columbia Valley Arts.
Because, as she puts it, “painting is how I speak,” Chloë has begun replenishing her collection of painting supplies, which she’ll be putting to use in the ideal setting.
“It’s refining here in the valley; no distractions — there’s a deeper opportunity to connect with my inner voice in the solitudes of glorious nature.”
It’s easy to meet Chloë by stopping in for a browse at Pynelogs. Manning the entrance, she’ll be building rapport with clients and artists. And because of Pynelogs’ inclusivity, she especially enjoys working with artists.