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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Wallace Park, Wainwright, Alberta, Canada

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Wallace Park, Wainwright, Alberta, Canada
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Registered: September 2012
City/Town/Province: Wainwright
Posts: 1
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Environmental activism in Canada’s youth is crucial in developing a future generation that is not only aware of environmental issues, but also has the resources and enthusiasm to take them on. During my first few months as Youth Representative of Parks and Recreation for the town of Wainwright, Alberta, I became acquainted with several biologists, teachers and rural administrators. Being a grade eleven student in September of 2012 I was very new to the barrage of contacts and advice from different groups of people. I was made aware of a situation that had been taking place for several years in my town: vegetation removal by the town of Wainwright.

What raised concern about the act of removing the vegetation was that several biologists in and around Wainwright had voiced their disapproval of the town doing so. Three ponds (Wallace, Bevan’s, and the “Overpass”) were having cat tails, native grasses and other vegetation that is important in water systems for phosphorus filtration and water cleansing removed on a bi-annual basis. Each of these areas receive a large amount of public attention through fishing, tobogganing and other events. I was very interested in this problem, and with my involvement in the town of Wainwright I decided to do some digging. What I learned was that the town’s only reasons for the removal of vegetation was that they classified all of the areas involved as “dry ponds” which was later proven to be false by a biologist in Wainwright, as dry ponds empty throughout the year, however none of the water areas in Wainwright do this. A board member was also quoted saying that “They’ve always been doing it this way, so why change?”. I found these reasons to be unacceptable, and started making people aware of the situation and looking for ways to make a difference. What I found was the Caring for Our Watersheds contest.

I composed a presentation outlining this problem and presented to approximately 100 people, including judges. I received second place out of around one-hundred entries throughout Alberta, and won $10,000 in matching funding to do something about the issue. Media became involved, helping to spread the word and raise awareness. The cover photo for this essay is the newspaper article that was created shortly after the contest. I was also recorded on a local radio station. East Central Alberta Catholic Separate Schools Regional Division No. 16 describes me as a "visionary youth with a keen interest for environmental science and a remarkable desire to raise awareness of local environmental issues and ways to improve them"... "An outstanding ambassador for Blessed Sacrament School, and for Wainwright Parks and Recreation". From winning, my school also received $900 which is currently being put toward educating students at my school about environmental stewardship as well as several small projects around my school like tree planting, garbage pick-ups and the idea of putting a greenhouse on school grounds to educate children about plants and photosynthesis. Town council is in the midst of deciding how to spend this $10,000 in a way that positively effects the local and regional environment. These water areas in Wainwright are important to keep healthy and rich in native vegetation because like I said, these areas are very popular places in Wainwright for families to spend their leisure time. Nature watching and recreational activities are commonly seen taking place at these areas. As a result of raising awareness in my town about environmental sustainability, my school and community have put more focus on going “green” and making less of an impact. I have hope that minors taking action in the environmental community will not cease any time soon, and I have/am still doing my part to make a change in Alberta and Canada.

This project, named “Project Wetland Vegetation” has opened my eyes to a world of opportunities to change the way that communities do things. Individuals really do have the power to make a difference. All it takes is initiative and the desire to be the drive that pushes forward positive change.
· Date: September 22, 2012 · Views: 2911 · File size: 21.3kb, 199.1kb · : 960 x 697 ·
Hours Volunteered: 100
Volunteers: 1
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 4
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