The Rivershed Society of BC is looking for environmental leaders who are up for the trip—and the challenge—of a lifetime. The not-for-profit organization is inviting people who dream of starting, or who may already be working on sustainability initiatives to apply for the Sustainable Living Leadership Program.

The leadership program is an eye-opening 25-day educational program that takes participants from the Fraser River’s headwaters near Mount Robson, to where it meets the shores of Vancouver 1,400 kilometres downstream. Traveling by canoe, raft, shuttle van, and on foot, you explore ‘off-the-beaten-track’ parts of BC, learning about the geography, biology and history of the landscape from skilled facilitators and guides.

giant-cedarsIn 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, you ride whitewater rapids and observe traditional First Nations fisheries. In the lower stretches, you 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.

Team building, conflict resolution, communication and critical thinking are an important part of the program. Throughout the journey, you discuss sustainability issues, identify and build upon your own talents, and develop a formal plan for your sustainability project.

Alex Ensworth, a 2014  participant, is almost finished his sustainability project, which he undertook with his partner Katie Furness-Moore. The pair are creating a photo-journal titled “Faces of the Fraser” to profile people who live, work, and depend upon the Fraser River. Their goal with the project is to raise awareness of the many and diverse uses of the Fraser River, and to show how residents, farmers and many other British Columbians benefit from living near it.

Natalya Melnychuk, another 2014 participant, is creating “Chase by Choice”, a promotional booklet highlighting the lives of individuals that have chosen to make Chase their home. The booklet will be used as part of the welcome package for newcomers to the area, to showcase the diversity of active and engaged community members from a range of backgrounds to promote rural living.

When asked about her experience on the Sustainable Living Leadership Program, Natalya said, “I would definitely recommend the program to other people; it has made me feel more intimately connected to my watershed. The trip has given me a greater appreciation of the diversity of people as well as flora and fauna that depend on the river system.“

The Sustainable Living Leadership Program now in its twelfth year, is seeking applicants for the 2015 trip. Anyone with an interest in sustainability or community development is encouraged to apply. To qualify, participants must be 19 years of age or older and physically fit. Community volunteer experience is an asset. The application deadline is April 30.

This summer, spend three weeks exploring and learning about parts of British Columbia most people never get to see—it will change the way you look at this province and its most spectacular river system.

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