Over the past weeks, our team has grown, and we are thrilled to welcome Sherry Da, Deana Machin, and Montana Lewis to the POLIS family!
Sherry Da, Water Leaders and Special Projects Coordinator
As our new Water Leaders and Special Projects Coordinator, Sherry’s work will largely focus on supporting and convening the growing B.C. Water Leaders and Funders’ Network, ensuring all members of the network are informed, connected, and strategically engaging on opportunities to advance water policy and law reform or implement watershed governance initiatives.
Sherry is interested in exploring and addressing watershed management issues through the intersections of justice, equity, and decolonization. Her experience working and studying in India and Singapore helped her understand the connection between local and global issues—how local projects can be scaled to influence international change, and how international decisions can affect the daily lives of the most remote villagers. She takes this broad view when considering watershed management and policy issues, since water cannot be separated by boundaries and maps.
Her other environmental interests include textile waste reduction, deforestation, and rising sea levels, all of which tie back to sustainable usage and management of water. Sherry completed a BA in International Relations at UBC.
Deana Machin, Advisor
Deana Machin recently joined our team as a Practitioner Avisor to the POLIS Water Sustainability Project. Deana is a member of the Syilx (Okanagan) Nation and grew up in her home community along Okanagan Lake near Vernon B.C. These connections have grounded her strong values in relation to First Nations’ rights and their roles in the governance and management of their lands, waters, and resources.
Deana has been active in the field of fisheries management and policy for over 20 years, specializing in strategic planning and Indigenous engagement in fisheries governance and management initiatives. She is the former Strategic Development Manager for the First Nations Fisheries Council of BC (FNFC), where for 10 years the purpose of her work was to build collaborative and effective relationships among First Nations and with Crown governments and NGOs.
Prior to her time with the FNFC, she was the Fisheries Program Manager for the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) for seven years. While working for her Nation, Deana led the Reintroduction of Sockeye Salmon into the Okanagan Basin Initiative, which saw the first release of Okanagan sockeye fry into Skaha Lake in 2006. She also collaborated with federal and provincial governments and other partners on the development of the Okanagan Basin Fish Water Management Tool model and the Okanagan River Restoration Initiative. Deana holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Business Administration from the University of British Columbia.
Montana Lewis, Work Study Student
Montana Lewis is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, with a concentration in Environment and Sustainability. As a work study student assisting in research in communications at the POLIS Water Sustainability Project, Montana’s goal is to develop her understanding of water law and watershed governance. As a settler of Chinese and European descent, Montana is committed to amplifying Indigenous voices while respecting traditional knowledge and rights.
Montana contributes her collaborative and interpersonal skills to the team, which allows for the successful building of working relationships with stakeholders, actors, and partners. As a young learner in the sustainability field, she enjoys cultivating positive working environments where team members can learn and grow.
Montana is passionate about food security, promoting community development, and removing barriers to accessing clean, safe, and reliable drinking water. Montana is an avid foodie who loves playing tennis and taking her dog for walks!