Experience the mighty Fraser River

Young people are encouraged to take the field trip of a lifetime

The Rivershed Society of B.C. is looking for passionate people who are up for the trip – and the challenge – of a lifetime.

They are now accepting applications for the 2012 Sustainable Living Leadership Program (SLLP): a three-week field course that spans the length of the Fraser River.

From Aug. 2 – 26, participants journey by foot, van, canoe and raft from the Fraser’s headwaters near Valemount,  B.C. to where it meets the shores of Vancouver, 1,400 kilometres away.

The program, now in its ninth year, has developed an incredible curriculum. In the river’s upper reaches, participants hike through a 2,000-year-old ancient cedar grove and paddle through the Robson Valley. In the Fraser Canyon, they ride whitewater rapids and observe traditional First Nations fisheries.

In the lower stretches, they visit a working organic farm and paddle past log booms and big-box stores while learning about the impacts of urban and industrial development on salmon habitat.

Last year, Quesnel resident Amy Law joined the three-week field course and highly recommends this experience to other young people.

“When I travelled the Fraser River last August it was the trip of a lifetime,” she said.

“I learned so much from the people I met and the landscape I travelled through. I really hope someone from Quesnel takes this opportunity.”

The program’s founder, Fin Donnelly,  swam the Fraser River twice to raise awareness about threats to river ecosystems and what can be done to protect them.

“There is no better way to learn about sustainability than to travel along the river, seeing first hand how the issues affect Fraser River communities,” Donnelly said, who also serves as the Member of Parliament for New Westminster, Coquitlam and Port Moody.

“Both experience and knowledge are powerful factors. The program combines experiential learning with knowledge to motivate, inspire and give people the tools they need to make change.”

The Rivershed Society covers 90 per cent of the program’s cost. As a result of its investment in the SLLP, the society has been able to build a diverse network of young, motivated leaders across the province.

Many SLLP alumni have gone on to launch innovative projects and initiatives.

Participants must be 19 years of age or older and physically fit. Community volunteer experience is an asset. The application deadline is May 18.

Amy Law is prepared to discuss her experience and answer questions from prospective participants. For information or to apply visit  www.rivershed.com.