Former Iqaluit resident dies in Nepal crash


Last weekend a helicopter accident in the eastern Himalayan mountains claimed the life of Jennifer Headley, a former resident of Iqaluit whose memory is treasured by her many friends here. She was 34.

Jenn moved to Iqaluit with Adam Barbolet in 1997, hoping to contribute to the creation of Nunavut. Adam came for a job with DIAND, and Jenn soon found employment as a policy analyst in the precursor to the GN’s Department of Sustainable Development. Jenn was full of energy, enthusiasm and commitment; a person who lived life to the fullest. She was passionate about Nunavut, her work, and her friends.

And what a wonderful friend she was – warm, funny, hospitable, flashing that happy grin of hers, and enthusiastic about engaging in the community.

In 2001, Jenn and Adam left Iqaluit to take on new challenges overseas. Jenn worked for the World Wildlife Fund for two years as a volunteer in Nepal, then joined the staff of the WWF’s United Kingdom-based office in 2003.

Just under a year ago she returned to Nepal as co-ordinator of the WWF’s community-based conservation projects in the eastern Himalayas. Not only was this a “dream job” for her, but her emails back to friends in Nunavut also made it clear how much she respected the Nepalese people and how much she loved living there.

The crash occurred as dignitaries were returning from a ceremony at which the Nepalese government turned over to the 5,000 local inhabitants management of the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area – a region of narrow valleys, deep gorges and towering peaks known for its rich biodiversity, spectacular scenery and rich cultural heritage. As Jenn’s family has said in a statement, “She was dedicated to working with local communities and community groups to enhance the sustainable management of natural resources.”

The Kangchenjunga devolution agreement was a huge accomplishment, something of a dream come true for her and everyone else who had worked to make it happen.

Jenn was such a vital spirit, so completely and irrepressibly alive, that it’s almost impossible to believe that she’s gone. Our thoughts and prayers are with her parents Norman and Kathy, her sisters Enid and Diedre and the entire family, with Adam, with Anil, and with all who had the joy of knowing her.

Rest in peace, Jenn. You brightened our lives, and helped make the world a better place. We’ll miss you terribly.

Friends of Jennifer Headley

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