PREP’s Clean Water Champion is a monthly feature that profiles people and partners working to make a difference around our watershed.
This month we’re proud to feature a local clean water and climate champion, Kimberly Reed. Kimberly is the Town Planning and Zoning Administrator as well as the Floodplain Manager in Rye. Kimberly is a Seacoast Native growing up on the shores of Great Bay in Greenland. She graduated from UNH with a BA in Political Science in 1989 and Antioch New England with an MS in Organization Management in 2000. Kimberly’s work in Rye is varied and impressive. She works on Planning and Zoning, Safe Routes to School, Joint Loss Management, Emergency Management as well as working on a grant to clean up Parsons Creek and inform Rye Elected officials and the public about preparing for climate change. Kimberly’s energy and commitment to her local community’s safety and future is incredible and makes her the epitome of a Clean Water Champion.
To learn more about Rye’s fantastic climate change preparedness work visit their website HERE.
Kim jogging along Foss Beach last summer
PREP: How long have you been a champion for clean water/safe communities/climate change preparedness?
Almost my entire life, I grew up in Greenland and would walk along Great Bay looking for horseshoe crabs and spend many childhood hours on Jenness Beach or Crane’s Beach in Ipswich, MA with my cousins. In my early adulthood, I would take long canoe camping trips with friends on the Baker, Saco and Pemi Rivers. Then prior to children, my husband and I would take canoe trips on various lakes around New Hampshire and Maine, and on really hot days we would take our Boston Whaler out to the Isle of shoals or up the river for long outings. When I was a Girl Scout troop leader, I would take the troop to Sawyers Beach for Beach cleanups and teach them the importance of taking care of our environment.
More recently I would say I became a champion when working on the Preparing for Climate Change and realized we needed to do something for the benefit of our children.
PREP: How’d you get started in protecting clean water/shorelands/coasts?
Kimberly: I remember reading in the Portsmouth Herald (in 2001) that a developer was going to put in a Mall on RT 33 in Greenland where I knew there were wetlands and I was concerned. Around the same time, I read that planning board members were needed for Rye. I answered the call. I Started as an Alternate member but within in a year became an elected member of the Planning Board. During those years, the Board held public forums and I became chairman of the Master Plan committee. I worked a lot on the natural resources and vision for Rye. I wanted to do more. Then in 2006, the position of Planning & Zoning Administrator opened up and I traded in my vote for a chance to do some work and make a difference. I attended FEMA trainings in Maryland, became a Certified Floodplain Manager and joined the Emergency Management Team. I applied for a grant to clean up the impaired waters of Parsons Creek and have been working on that since 2011 and we are on our second phase as the project is ongoing. In the past two years, I worked with the Rockingham Planning Commission and UNH on preparing for climate change, and educating Rye residents and elected officials. I have attended climate change forums and seminars and in 2016, we will be updating the Town’s Master Plan with a preparing for climate change chapter and looking at the Town’s Vision, Land Use and Natural Resources with adaptation for climate change as the driving force.
PREP: What’s your favorite thing to do with or on water?
My favorite things have changed over the years as I get older. I used to love body surfing as a youth, canoeing as a teenager and young adult and now I enjoy taking my dog to the beach, walking and looking for sea glass. I tried paddle boarding this past summer and cannot say yet it is a new favorite but I am looking forward to doing it again in 2016.
PREP: What’s been your proudest moment as a clean water/climate/environmental Champion?
My proudest moment was when Emily DiFranco, then project manager of FB Environmental, asked me to speak with her on the work I have done in the Town of Rye with FB Environmental on the Parsons Creek Watershed. I presented with Forrest Bell, owner of FB Environmental. As we discussed the topic of the impaired watershed; climate change, and the FEMA maps were also discussed and this made me realize this is exciting work that I really enjoy.
PREP: What’s one simple thing you would tell somebody to do to protect the places around the Seacoast they love?
Kimberly: It is as simple as stopping to think about the impact that you are making on the place around you. Does anyone remember the commercial where the Indian sees all the trash and pollution and a tear rolls down his face. That is how I feel sometimes. Stop, love and respect this beautiful place.
Kim (in blue jacket) with the Rye Girl Scouts (including her daughter in red) at a beach cleanup