When the call came early this summer from Richard Weber, renowned Arctic Explorer and lodge operator, to participate in a new summer leadership camp at his remote Arctic Watch Lodge, Faith, a recent St. Paul Public Schools graduate, was ready for the challenge.
This is just the kind of result we are hoping to see for youth who participate in our Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures (UWCA) program. Faith participated in the UWCA through the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program in the Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS). Together with fellow SPPS AVID students, Faith participated in a series of outdoor activities including day trips on the Mississippi River, overnight camping trips at Baker Park Reserve, and a trip to Glacier National Park, provided annually with support from Mayor Coleman and Saint Paul Parks and Recreation.
All of these activities and some family camping trips have resulted in Faith developing a strong interest in the outdoors and in pursuing a post-secondary environmental science degree.
Faith and five other youth from the US and Canada spent 10 days on Somerset Island in the Arctic Circle, cataloging flora and fauna, hiking, rafting, and observing beluga whales alongside some of the top whale researchers in the world.
“I got to see how global warming is really impacting the people and landscape, even more obviously than in Minnesota. This is the second year in a row they’ve seen mosquitoes on the island! Actually witnessing these changes reinforced my goal to pursue an environmental science degree,” says Faith.
Faith credits her experiences in AVID and the UWCA for opening her mind to new opportunities and nurturing her passion for the environment. “I would be a different person without the opportunities I’ve had. I am open and ready to seize the next one that comes my way.”