As the founder and Executive Director of Living Lakes Canada, Kat Hartwig has demonstrated unwavering commitment to freshwater protection in B.C. for the past two decades. Recognizing that global water challenges caused by climate change need to be addressed at local community levels, Kat’s desire to empower communities to find climate adaptation strategies has tripled water monitoring activities in the Columbia Basin alone. She had an instrumental role in many large-scale, environmental conservation initiatives. Kat was one of the initiators of the Jumbo Wild campaign, a key grizzly bear and wildlife corridor located in the Purcell Mountains. She continues large-scale conservation work for the Columbia Wetlands, one of the longest undisturbed wetland ecosystems remaining in North America.
Her work has had positive effects locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Kat contributes advice to many groups including Global Water Futures, BC Water Leaders Consortium, and the Canadian Water Coalition. She sits on the board of German-based Global Nature Fund, the parent organization of Living Lakes International. An advocate for the inclusion of Indigenous voices in water management and Indigenous Knowledge in water policy and science, Kat has prioritized strong working relationships with First Nations. Her commitment to water stewardship is interwoven with a desire to empower young people to make a meaningful contribution towards addressing the climate and biodiversity crisis facing their generation.
Kat Hartwig was named the 2023 Mitchell Award recipient. Named in honour of Keith Mitchell QC, the Mitchell Award recognizes an individual who, through his or her work and volunteer activities, has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to elevating the community in which they live, and those who serve it. The recipient has a unique and selfless leadership style that encourages and inspires the full participation of those he or she leads. Keith Mitchell served as the BC Achievement Foundation’s Founding Chair and guiding light for 13 years. A leader by example and a mentor at heart, Keith brought clarity to the role of the Foundation in its mission to celebrate excellence in British Columbia.