Photo: Newcomer and First Nation teens plant roots in the Rouge

Credit: Stuart Blain


What do you get when you pair newcomer teens from eleven countries with youth from a remote BC First Nation, put them in a field, and add a bit of sunshine, hundreds of saplings and a whole lot shovels? Answer: A great day in the Rouge.

Yesterday, CultureLink Settlement Services held an great tree planting event in Markham, Ontario, in a part of the future Rouge National Park called Bob Hunter Memorial Park. The Park was named in honour of the great actvitist, broadcaster, and arguably the "inventor" of Greenpeace — and it was appropriately inspiring.

The event was part of Camp Suzuki in the Rouge (kindly sponsored by The North Face) and saw seventeen Toronto teens whose families have just moved to the GTA, paired with seventeen youth from Haida Gwaii (formally known as Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia. It was part of an exchange program by CultureLink and supported by YMCA Youth Exchanges Canada.

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The CityTV news story below captures the spirit of the day, where we all learned about the wonders of the Rouge, and about how Haida Gwaii has become a globally recognized example of how to protect nature for future generations.


The Haida youth spoke eloquently about their profound connection to nature and the importance of protecting our natural heritage for future generations. They then had some fun getting their hands and boots dirty with their hosts, who originally hail from Colombia, Peru, Mexico, St. Vincent, Congo, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, India, Tibet, Thailand and Nepal.

And the day wouldn't have been possible without the support (and trees) from our colleagues at Friends of the Rouge Watershed, who deserve huge kudos winning a much deserved Green Toronto Award last week.


April 27, 2012

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