FIn Donnelly and other participants launch a Voyageur canoe from Kilby Provincial Park in 2012. The expedition will be repeated again this year

Experience of a lifetime found on the river

Fraser expedition involving MP Donnelly looking for partipants for 2013

Once again, the Rivershed Society of B.C. is looking for environmental leaders between the ages of 19 and 35 who are up for the trip—and the challenge—of a lifetime.

They are now accepting applications for the 2013 Sustainable Living Leadership Program (SLLP): a three-week field course spanning the length of the Fraser River.

From August 1 – 25, participants journey 1,400 kilometers by canoe, raft, van and on foot from the Fraser’s headwaters near Valemount, BC, to where it meets the shores of Vancouver.

The program is now in its tenth year. 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, the Observer visited the group as they camped at Kilby Provincial Park near Agassiz. They were joined then by the program’s founder, Fin Donnelly.

While Donnelly does serve as MP for New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody, he has also swam the length of 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,” says Donnelly. “Both experience and knowledge are powerful factors. The program combines experiential learning with knowledge to motivate, inspire and give these young leaders 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 in their own communities.

People with an interest in sustainability or community development are encouraged to apply. Participants must be 19 years of age or older and physically fit. Community volunteer experience is an asset. The application deadline is May 31.

For more information or to apply visit www.rivershed.com.

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