Four Ecole HJ Cody School students spent the weekend in the mountains discussing conservation with students from across Western Canada.
The Canadian Rockies Youth Summit, held in Jasper National Park Nov. 15-17, is the first ever of its kind designed and led by youth.
The summit’s organizers are a group of students based out of the Calgary Board of Education’s Career and Technologies Studies (CTS) Centre.
Over three days, 42 students from 10 schools gathered in the Palisades Centre and heard from 13 presenters expanding their knowledge of conservation.
Linda Wagers, advanced outdoor education teacher at HJ Cody, selected four students to attend the summit.
Grade 10 students Grace Degenhardt, Gracie Langford, Rebecca Kingston and Grade 12 student Brooklyn Liikalia made the trip to Jasper this past weekend.
While at the summit the girls were able to raise awareness for the environmental issues here in Sylvan Lake through a skit they had to perform.
The skit shed light on two issues: ice fishing huts which are left on the ice and gold fish being released in to the lake.
The girls said seeing the other school’s skits and listening to the speakers was an educational and eye-opening experience when it came to environmental issues within these individual communities.
Liikalia said “learning about different scenarios and different ways we could potentially help solve those difficulties” was a large part of the summit.
Degenhardt stated she was interested to learn about issues in other parts of Alberta and how all those issues are intertwined.
“They’re not connected so it’s like little oasis’ and that’s great and all, but then if we have them all actually connected together it just improves everything,” said Liikalia of national parks across the country.
Sylvan Lake was the only community at the summit surrounded a lake, which helped to broaden the girls’ perspective on conservation.
“It was kind of good to see other points of views … [and] what other problems there are without a lake and what there is with a lake,” said Langford.
The girls agreed the summit’s full schedule was overwhelming and nerve-wracking, but was the “good kind of stress” in a beautiful location.
They enjoyed learning about the backgrounds of the park and how things came to be, as well as the concern for the future.
“We got to see all the communities come together … it showed actually people still care,” said Langford, adding in today’s society it sometimes feels like people don’t care about conservation.
The group is working on bringing their skit and expanded knowledge in to the public elementary schools around town to continue to spread the awareness.
The girls explained the elementary schools often use the lake, so it would be beneficial to show the children how to help by picking up their trash and to not dump their fish in the lake.
“It’s something they should be aware of… realize that when you do something it means something,” said Langford.