Wildsight offers young people in the Columbia Basin a river adventure – Trail Daily Times

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Adventurous teens of the Greater Trail are invited to attend Wildsight’s Youth Field School – two weeks of camping, paddling and learning on the Columbia River.

The Columbia River Field School (CRFS) in Wildsight is a canoe trip and adventure for students ages 15-18. The trip takes place from June 30 to July 14 and applications must be sent by May 15.

Students paddle key sections of the Canadian side of the Columbia River, camping along the banks in a learning environment “like no other,” Wildsight said in a press release.

“The field school provides an opportunity for real, lived and felt learning,” said Monica Nissen, education manager at Wildight. “Students come away with an understanding of the complexity of the many issues – ecological, social and economic – that are inextricably linked to the Columbia River and this watershed.

The trip spans 15 days and includes various certifications including Lakewater Level 1 and Canoe Tripping Paddler certifications. Youth will learn skills such as map reading, packing, cooking, setting up camp and ‘leave no trace’ policies.

“But most importantly, students appreciate this watershed and the complex role we play in protecting it,” Wildsight said.

Participants will also have the opportunity to meet guest speakers familiar with ecological, social and economic studies. Speakers will include government officials, Indigenous knowledge holders, scientists, artists and adventurers.

“Throughout the trip, I built a strong connection with the Columbia River. Paddling several different sections (free-flowing and dammed) really helped me understand why the Columbia is such an important river,” said former participant Ali Giesbrecht. “I have been privileged to witness its beauty in many forms, such as wildlife and aquatic life, its geography, human connections to the watershed, and special places like the headwaters and its confluence with the Kootenay River.”

Wildsight adds that “raising a generation of leaders who understand and appreciate the Columbia River, including the Columbia River Treaty and the effect this river has on communities in the watershed” is the goal of the program.

“Sustainably improving our relationship with the environment requires more than superficial appreciation. For long-term change, we need to cultivate champions who have deep knowledge and passion, and can use this to inspire broader interest in the issues that affect our communities,” said Graeme Lee Rowlands, Program Coordinator. “CRFS brings these topics to life in the basin landscape and in the lives of participants in a way that no other program does.”

Applications can be completed online at wildsight.ca, under the programs tab.

All CRFS chaperones will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and it is strongly recommended by Wildsight that students be fully vaccinated as well.


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