It was a balmy day to venture into the great outdoors for snowshoeing, as members of the Smoky River Bears Junior Forest Wardens soon found.
This group met at the grazing range southeast of Donnelly in the afternoon of Feb. 25 and Cheryl Isert, one of the leaders, was pleased with the turnout.
“It’s a family-based group, but we encourage everyone to join,” says Isert.
Those involved with this group range in age from six to 15 years, but those up to 18 are also welcome.
Some children in this group were putting on their snowshoes for the first time, and they had difficulty learning which was the left and right, but soon they eagerly embraced their new footwear.
Once everyone was strapped in, Isert explained the rules to the children, including that everyone stays together. Then they headed out on the grazing range as a group for about an hour or so of fun. Several other people went out on snowmobiles in advance to mark the trails.
The Smoky River Bears Junior Forest Wardens hold activities like this on the last Sunday of each month. Their program runs for September from June, but they try to meet during the summer as well.
Registration is $60 per child, per year, which is divided between the local group and the provincial organization.
As per the Alberta Junior Forest Wardens’ Facebook page:
“Junior Forest Wardens is an exciting and educational opportunity for young people and their families to have fun, develop skills, and get educated in the many and diverse aspects of our natural environment. The Junior Forest Wardens have built their programs foundation using the four components of Forestry – Ecology – Outdoor Skills – Leadership.
“Young people between the ages of 6 – 18 can join a local club and enjoy age specific programming in one of the four appropriate age classes. Parents are encouraged to participate with their children, in any aspect of the club program; from providing their expertise in a leadership or resource role, parent supervision, to learning right along side of their kids.
“Junior Forest Wardens is an outdoor oriented program, with an emphasis on the experience. The program is committed to providing opportunities to get outdoors: camping, backpacking, canoeing, mountaineering, tree planting and more!”