St. Mary’s looking for wildlife experts
Fall Trailblazers program seeks people with outdoor skills to teach youth
The Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s is looking for more trail blazers to help raise the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts.
Organizers of the Trail Blazers program with the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s are assembling plans for the outdoor education program’s fall season – and are looking for volunteers who are able to teach outdoor skills for part of a six-week program run locally in Sherbrooke.
"It’s all about getting kids out into nature, and helping them understand and appreciate nature more," said Joshua Hilton, community development and recreation director with the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s. "There are outdoor education skills that they might use someday – it’s built around outdoor education."
Hilton said each session has a particular theme, and features many organizations and experts from the community. These include groups like the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the St. Mary’s River Association.
"Basically, an expert or an organization will lead a session or two, and assist with showing the students how to do fire building, outdoors skills or even just go for a hike," Hilton said.
Themes for the Trail Blazers program can feature anything from identifying wild edibles to sports skills.
Hilton emphasized how anyone with any sort of nature skill or knowledge should feel free to enquire and become part of the program, adding, "we’ve had people email us from the community who know a lot about bird watching or animal identification. We invite them to apply and volunteer in the program."
If the skills of those volunteers are a good fit, Hilton said they can meet with the district, and see if they are able to lead a lesson.
"We try to get volunteers from the community involved. If someone does archery or something like that, we would like them to step forward and teach a new skill – anything they have skills in, Hilton said. "We don’t just want business and government entities. We want to try and give local people a chance to give back to the community through the program."
The program is for students in Grades 4 to 7 and runs in the spring and fall, based in Stonewall Park, in Sherbrooke. This year, the program is also being opened up to younger participants in Grades 1 to 3. Each year, Hilton said about 15 to 20 students participate in the activities.
The program is generally run in Stonewall Park due to its proximity to the rest of the community in Sherbrooke, the access to the trails and the fact that it features and outdoor setting.
"It’s pretty much got everything we need. It works for us to do it that way. We also have other options out that way, with our beaches, and vast amount of land and rivers out there."
If you have an outdoor skill and are looking to volunteer for the Trail Blazers program, contact Joshua Hilton at 902 522 2598, or at firstname.lastname@example.org