Empowering youth to be leaders: Canadian Wilderness Stewardship Program accepting applications

Are you passionate about the environment? Are you eager to connect with nature and learn how to protect it? Are you between the ages of 18-30? The Ottawa Valley chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS-OV) is now accepting applications for its annual Canadian Wilderness Stewardship Program.

The 120-hour program runs from September to March, with three core components:

  1. A CPAWS-led wilderness expedition to the Noire River.
  2. A participant-led, volunteer community service project focused on conservation or education.
  3. A summit for participants to share knowledge and develop engagement, conservation, leadership, and advocacy skills.

“The Canadian Wilderness Stewardship Program inspires the next generation of wilderness stewards by connecting our communities’ youth to nature through this educational experience,” says Chloé McMillan, CPAWS-OV Education Director.

(CPAWS-Ottawa Valley is a strong believer that being outside in nature is a necessary component of healthy communities and therefore, work to offer programming that connects children, youth, and adults to nature.)

CPAWS-OV staff and knowledgeable guiding companies lead the expeditions, which include opportunities for hiking, paddling, and/or general outdoor exploration in the region. Staff also provides participants with guidance in developing their community service projects. “The Canadian Wilderness Stewardship Program empowers our local youth to become ambassadors for wild spaces in their communities while building their confidence and leadership skills,” explained McMillan.

The goals of the Canadian Wilderness Stewardship Program are:

  • To enable participants to experience the benefits of performing meaningful volunteer community service in their regions
  • To build participants’ confidence, leadership ability, and critical thinking skills
  • To empower participants to become ambassadors for regional wild spaces within their communities and create a culture of conservation engagement

In order to participate, applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Be between 18-30 years old
  2. Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or granted refugee status in Canada
  3. Reside in the National Capital Region
  4. Demonstrate an interest in conserving Canada’s wilderness
  5. Have access to a computer and internet connection

Applications for the 2021-2022 Canadian Wilderness Stewardship Program will be accepted until September 1. The application form, and more information, can be found on the CPAWS-OV website.


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