Do you love the great outdoors? Do you care about our region's ecology? Would you like to learn more about forestry resource management, and learn leadership skills? Do you look good in red? If any of all of the above tweaks your interest, then you might just be exactly who the Junior Forest Wardens are looking for!
A very active organization that focuses on forestry, ecology, outdoor skills and leadership. The Junior Forest Wardens (JFW) are looking for interested youth between the ages of 6-18, as well as some committed adults, to form a club right here in Leduc.
Currently there are groups running in Stony Pain, Edmonton, St. Albert and Wetaskiwin, but Terry Garrett, Chief Warden for Alberta, said that they would love to see a group start up in Leduc. "It is the perfect place for a JFW club," said Terry, "With all of Leduc's parks, green spaces and multiways, it is apparent that Leduc is a place that cares about it's environment."
JFW clubs group their members into age appropriate classes with ‘Pathfinders’ being children in grades 1-3, ‘Trailblazers’ grades 4-6, ‘Adventurers’ grades 7-9, and ‘Challengers’ grades 10-12.
Parents are also highly encouraged to participate alongside their children in club activities. Training opportunities are also made available for adults who want to get involved with the program by teaching, mentoring or supervising Wardens.
The types of activities the clubs partake in is extremely varied. Normally a club will meet once a week, with an outdoor trip being planned once a month. A typical outdoor trip might be a hike through the river valley identifying the local flora and fauna of our area. For a more extreme trip for the Adventurer and Challenger age groups, this year the club's Summer Outreach Program has members camping for two nights at Twin Lakes Campground and then paddling down the North Saskatchewan River through the Devil's Elbow rapids, and finishing up in Rocky Mountain House. Or for those really seeking to stretch their abilities, there is a planned 24 hour solo survival outreach challenge that will take place near Long Lake Camp in October.
The Junior Forest Wardens is a club that goes year round with activities. In the summertime kids learn skills such as wildfire prevention and suppression techniques, outdoor survival skills, canoeing and forest industry and resource management. While in the winter they have the opportunity to learn things like cross country skiing, ice climbing, and snowshoeing.
One of the biggest things the Junior Forest Warden Association is keen on teaching young people about is ecology. They believe that through education and hands on experiences, kids will develop an interest and understanding of the relationship among all living things in our environment. For example, several members of the Edmonton club came out to Leduc in May to help plant trees along our multiway system through Deer Valley. Junior Forest Wardens often have the chance to get involved with activities such as reforestation, and fish and wildlife conservation projects.
They also host large events such as their Provincial and National Camp-outs every few years, where clubs from across Alberta, and even throughout Canada, get together for a week of camping, socializing, and sharing ideas.
For more information on the Junior Forest Warden Association, you can go their website at www.jfwa.ca. Or if you think you would be interested in helping to form a club in Leduc, you can call Terry Garrett at 780-963-7183, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.