Originally published on the website of Simon Fraser University, in their “Sustainability Stories” section. You can view the original here.
SFU’s undergraduate biology student Petra Markova and BCIT project management alumna Megan Rempel were paddling the Fraser River together on a 30-day sustainable leadership program when they created the idea of providing an accessible outdoor opportunity for local change-makers.
“When I started doing environmental work I didn’t know anybody which was the most difficult part,” says Rempel. “Trying to save the world by yourself is really daunting and difficult, but as soon as you meet a network of people that want to do the same thing you realize that each person is making a difference. Everyone you meet can become a resource and teammate.”
With the intention of connecting local post-secondary students with shared sustainability interests, Markova and Rempel collaborated with Rivershed Society of BC, a local non-profit organization that delivers annual experiential learning programs, to design, develop and deliver an experiential learning opportunity called River’s Clinic. Taking place from June 1st to 3rd, the Clinic will engage 20 students from various post-secondary institutions in the Lower Mainland who will paddle along the Fraser River from Kwantlen to Musquem Territory in 34’ voyager-style canoes.
Using a clinic-style approach, the program seeks to inspire and strengthen relationships between participants by providing space for team building, positive discussion and project planning time in nature. “It’s important to build that sense of community to reach our goals in sustainability. This program takes students into nature, inspires and nurtures them as they begin to join forces to make change.”
This is an exciting opportunity that will build a powerful network of passionate youth in our communities.
Petra and Megan
Day 1 – Introductions
Participants arrive at Glen Valley Regional Park and learn about each other, the RSBC and the Rivers Clinic. Orientation to program and camping systems. First meeting with the Fraser on a river walk and nature sit-stay. End of night share-out circle and discussion about student initiatives.
Day 2 – Strategize and Networking
Facilitated leadership styles and strategies discussion with activities. Paddle from Glen Valley to the Kwikwetlem First Nation territory. Free time to network or explore the land. Participate in a community dinner. Guided bat tour at Colony Farm Regional Park.
Day 3 – Inspiration and Commitment
Paddle from Kwikwetlem to Musquem, with a break in New Westminster. Guest speakers share their stories and the importance of working with others. Participants brainstorm and make a commitment to a solution. Final closing circle and trip highlight.