Meet our Wild Ambassadors for 2016


The Wild Ambassador project is a volunteer driven initiative, where volunteers from regions across the province encourage and facilitate community members to spend more time outside enjoying parks, nature and wild spaces. Since January, our 20 Wild Ambassadors have been hosting events, from nature walks to park clean-ups.  We are excited to introduce you to three of this year's Wild Ambassadors, Christina, Tanille and Michelle!

Introducing Wild Ambassador Christina!
Christina is a recent graduate from the University of Victoria in Marine Biology and Business and is soon pursuing her Masters in Sustainable Environmental Management.  She has a major passion for the outdoors and protecting the natural resources our environment provides to us.  Christina has always been eager to share her knowledge and has continually shown leadership towards giving back to her community.  If she has time to spare she is usually outdoors exploring some new territory around her home in the Okanagan via hiking, snow shoeing, kayaking and more.

Nature is the natural art of the world!  It supplies so much to us everyday that protecting it is so important. It amazes me that I can step out my front door and be able to spend hours somewhere new every time I go outside.  It should be called “Neature” not “Nature”!  A big part of getting this volunteer position was about becoming a part of an amazing organization like CPAWS.  I love the fact that I get to be an advocate for one of my biggest passions – the wilderness – and I get to do it while representing an impressive organization like CPAWS. There are so many important reasons to get outside and I believe every individual has to find their own inspiration to get outside.  For me it’s the fresh air in my lungs, the beautiful sounds and sceneries that I get to explore, and the connections I get to make with nature and other people.

The common denominator in my events would have to be helping the community, giving back to what gives me so much!  I have always been an activist towards bettering this planet and it just felt natural to host events that involved my passions. I hosted three types of events: a Seniors Walk, a Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up Series, and a Day of Service with the Regional District of Central Okanagan. The Seniors Walk was hosted at the Rotary Marsh Bird Sanctuary near downtown Kelowna and a group of 8 seniors from a local retirement home came for the event.  We walked around the sanctuary for about an hour as I introduced the group to various local species, such as osprey, green painted slider turtles, great blue herons, tree swallows, and even mallards! I hosted four Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-ups as a series over two months. We cleaned up four Regional Parks in the Okanagan: Boyce-Gyro Beach, Thomson Marsh Park, Maude-Roxby Bird Sanctuary, and Kalamoir Park.  My last event was hosted for a group of volunteers from the Royal Bank of Canada at the Sutherland Hills Provincial Park, and they helped with an invasive plant clean up!  

I would just like to say thank you to everyone who was a part of these wonderful events and helped me to be a successful Wild Ambassador for the Spring of 2016!

 

Introducing Wild Ambassador Tanille!
Tanille is currently living in Cranbrook, BC. She is so thankful to live there because of all of the incredible people and places that make the East Kootenay’s so special. She works as a nurse, but believes that encouraging people to spend time outdoors is important, as we only care for what we spend time in.

Nature is so important to me because I view it as Creation, something incredibly designed that is a gift to enjoy and take care of. Being outside reminds people that there is so much more to this world than themselves - it reminds us to look beyond our daily concerns and just be thankful that we have life. A friend initially sent me the link outlining the Wild Ambassador volunteer opportunity because it lines up with the value that I place on taking care of this gift. Encouraging those in my community to enjoy it is what I see as the first step towards society taking care of it.

This year, the events that I hosted included a Trans Canada Trail cleanup and a visit to a fish hatchery for education and a hot dog roast. The trail maintenance was mainly attended by people that I knew through work, social circles, and church, while the second event was attended by participants in the ‘Street Angels’ program in Cranbrook. I wanted to host these events because I wanted to see people from all walks of life come together to enjoy something that I see as a beautiful gift. Thanks to CPAWS-BC for allowing us to enjoy it together!

 

 

 

Introducing Wild Ambassador Michelle!
Michelle is a Vancouver mom of a curious toddler. She is keen to infuse her son’s early childhood with as much time in nature as possible. Along the way, she’s hoping to regain some time for her own adventures, and build community with like-minded parents.

I’m a biologist by training, and I have many strong memories of connecting with nature as a child. I have fond memories of sitting on a favourite limb of our cherry tree to read or just have some quiet time. As I studied biology, I found myself revisiting lessons I learned as a child about those “ice castles” in the early winter soil, where to find the best berries, and how one can smell a storm coming. I understand through emotion AND factual knowledge that nature is the most important thing.

I have found it significantly difficult to get into the backcountry with the whole family, despite both my partner and I having plenty of backcountry experience ourselves, including leading groups of young adults. Hauling a wiggly and temperamental toddler is a whole other ballgame, but this is exactly when it’s most important to expose our children to wild places. I wanted to help lend a hand to other parents who may not have as much experience, knowledge, or gear - so they can partake in the same joy I feel when I’m far away from the city with my little one.

Research shows again and again how important time in nature is to our physical and mental health. It’s also the best way to meaningfully engage in the fight for wild places. Living in Vancouver in a small apartment, it doesn’t take long to feel how much you NEED to get outside. (who knew you could get “cabin fever” in the middle of the city?). Our family has a few basic rules and getting outside every day, rain or shine, is at the very top of the list.

I hosted two “backcountry simulation” hikes in Stanley Park to give young families a chance to practice with their full set of backcountry gear, including all the logistics of diapers, unhappy campers, hauling extra weight, and bushwhacking off-trail. The reason I organized these events was because on our first real backcountry trip with our 1.5 year old son we had several snags: too much gear to haul now that one person had to carry the gear while the other hauled the kid; not enough warm layers after a last minute weather-check; and of course getting to the trailhead too late in the day. The trip ended up being AMAZING, and it would have been such a tragedy if we had decided to cancel it because the logistics were so much more difficult than what we were used to.  I really could have used a “practice run” with all the trappings of a real backcountry trip - but in the frontcountry where it felt really safe if I had to bail out early, or really safe if I wanted to push it and really test myself.

We’ve formed a small community of parents from the Lower Mainland and are keeping in touch via a Facebook group called “Backcountry Curious Families” - look us up! We look forward to growing the community, and spending some time in the backcountry together.

 

To learn more about our Wild Ambassador program please visit: http://cpawsbc.org/campaigns/wild-ambassadors-program
Find out if a Wild Ambassador event is happening near you by visiting: http://cpawsbc.org/events

Questions? Please email wildambassadors@cpawsbc.org