We wish to nominate Elisabeth Walker for the Cydney Weir Award for Youth Environmental Leadership.
Elisabeth, known to us as Lizzy or Liz, is a valued member of our conservation youth group, WILD Outside, with the Canadian Wildlife Federation in Saskatoon. We will be saying farewell to her as she “ages out” of the program on her way to an undoubtedly exciting and rewarding career and future. Liz has impressed us, and other youth participants, since the day she joined us with her knowledge of wildlife, especially birds and threatened species.
Although the WILD Outside program offers the opportunity for youth to dip their toes in new outdoor activities, we were challenged to find ones that Liz hasn’t already done!
An avid camper, Liz has also done a fair bit of rock climbing, downhill and cross country skiing, canoeing, biking, geocaching, and rollerblading to name a few. She completed the legendary Grey Owl’s Cabin hike in Prince Albert National Park this summer with her mother, and has mentioned a few times that she feels quite at home on the water.
Liz shows great potential in pursuing an environmental career, and has self-identified interests in climatology, parks and protected areas, outdoor adventure guiding, ecology, and wildlife rehabilitation. She is also a natural community builder, having been engaged in Girl Guides and through her own cheerful and kind disposition. She exemplifies leadership by example, always quick to lend a hand or interesting fact to her peers. Other youth have referred to her as “the girl who knows everything about animals”, and she is well known for arriving at our events on her bicycle. One of my favourite memories of Liz in our program was watching her help a youth make a fire for the first time! Liz would excel as an educator for folks of any age, spreading her passion for wildlife and the environment. She also has great potential for creating visual narratives around the environment and wildlife, as she is quite artistically inclined and creative.
Liz has demonstrated a commitment to action for conservation not only in her involvement with WILD Outside, but in past and current experiences. It’s not just the cute and fuzzy animals that she cares about either! Liz was a part of Troutreach for a few months where she helped some university students in their experiments on the impact of neonicotinoids on pond snails in the province. She also participated in Saskatoon Public School’s Outdoor School program and is an active member of the Saskatoon Youth Climate Committee. Liz has mentioned that the Meewasin trail system and the Northeast Swale in Saskatoon are both near and dear to her heart.
Liz will surely continue to be a strong steward for natural spaces, as well as an advocate for people to responsibly enjoy them. She would make a wonderful recipient of this award.
Nominated by Raea Gooding and Alayna Chan of WILD Outside, a program of the Canadian Wildlife Federation