See a part of British Columbia that most people never get to see this summer, paddling the route early European explorers took on the Fraser River in a unique eco-educational adventure.
From Aug. 2 - 26, participants in the Rivershed Society's 2012 Sustainable Living Leadership Program will travel by foot, van, canoe and raft from the Fraser's headwaters near the B.C./Alberta border to where it meets the shores of Vancouver, 1,400 kilometres away.
From the Goat River Trail, a historic pass through the Caribou Mountains, to the famous white water rapids of Hell's Gate at Yale, 10 young leaders will travel with skilled facilitators to interpret the geography, biology and history of the landscape.
The program inspires and educates through hands-on experience, and opens the door to a network of community leaders in the Fraser River watershed.
Participants are given the time to develop and plan projects they can implement in their own communities - and many have gone on to do incredible things.
For example, Michelle Nickerson, a 2009 alumni, has become an inspirational wild salmon activist.
She launched the Fraser River Ripple Effect, a collection of people and projects focused on healthy salmon and watersheds.
In 2010, Nickerson organized the Ripple Relay, a 2,800 kilometre bike tour around the entire Fraser River Basin that connects participants with watershed stewards and wild salmon supporters at community events along the route.
The tour has become an annual event, and a 2012 Ripple Relay is currently in the works.
She started the non-profit society just two months after returning from the river. With community support, the society was able to purchase and restore a heritage house - The Potato House - which now serves as a public space for all kinds of sustainability and heritage initiatives and partnerships.
Glenda Newstead, a 2007 alumni, went on to become a facilitator in the program. Now, she gets paid to travel the river sharing her knowledge and joy of the outdoors with new participants.
Anyone with an interest in sustainability or community development is encouraged to apply for this year's program.
Participants must be 19 years of age or older and physically fit. Community volunteer experience is an asset.
The application deadline is May 18.
For more information or to apply visit www. rivershed.com.
- STAFF REPORTER