Welcome Jesse and Oleksandra!

Welcome Jesse and Oleksandra!

We are so excited to announce our new team members, Jesse Letford and Oleksandra Dmitrienko!

Jesse Letford, Environmental Outreach Coordinator

Jesse grew up in Peterborough, Ontario, where her first passion was the music industry. In 2012, she moved to Toronto to follow her dream of working at a record label, where she stayed until early 2023, gaining over a decade of experience building partner relationships and executing events. During her time in music she started to develop a love of the outdoors, going on hikes as often as possible and learning about outdoor and wildlife photography.

In 2021 Jesse decided to embark on the path towards a new career in the environmental industry, signing up for the Advanced Environmental Management program at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, which she completed in 2022. She also decided that it was time to make the move to the mountains, and that Nelson was the right place for her.

Jesse is excited to learn more about Kootenay Lake and the ways in which we all have a role to play in protecting and conserving the lake and surrounding ecosystems. She can’t wait to become more involved in the community in Nelson and to explore all of the Kootenays!

Oleksandra Dmitrienko, Ecological Projects Manager

After immigrating to Canada from Ukraine, Oleksandra grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. As most newcomers do, she and her family explored the natural beauty of their new home by hiking, camping, and going on road trips all over BC every chance they could; it was here that she discovered her love of the natural world. After graduating high school, she moved across the country to Montreal to pursue her other loves, literature and language, by getting a degree in English Literature and French Language from the University of McGill.

Oleksandra taught English to students of all ages and from a variety of backgrounds for over seven years in Montreal. While she loved teaching, she knew that she wanted to eventually come back to her first love and work in the environmental field. With so much tragedy and upheaval unfolding in the natural world due to the climate crisis, she wanted to be part of the group looking for solutions. And so, Oleksandra discovered the field of Ecological Restoration. She moved to Ontario and obtained the Ecosystem Management Diploma from Fleming College in Lindsay. During her studies, she took part in a project aimed at restoring a part of the campus to a tallgrass prairie, basing her prescriptions on historical remnants found throughout southern Ontario. After obtaining her diploma, Oleksandra came back to BC and worked in the natural resources industry, managing invasive species, monitoring
forest health and conducting silviculture surveys. And, most importantly, writing prescriptions for Caribou Habitat Restoration in the Kennedy Siding and Burnt Pine herd ranges as part of a project for the McLeod Lake Indian Band in central BC.

Oleksandra is looking forward to developing and working on many restoration projects around the lake in her role as the Ecological Projects Manager with FoKLSS. She hopes to build meaningful relationships with the many communities of Kootenay Lake and work together on solutions to create resilient and biodiverse ecosystems for all; human and non-human alike.

Please join us in welcoming Jesse and Oleksandra to FoKLSS and the Kootenays!