Greetings Wildlands League community! My name is Eugenia Kwok, Outreach Manager at Wildlands League. I am fascinated with the tireless work and volunteer support I see for Wildlands League. I’ve started a new blog series called “Volunteer Spotlight” to showcase some of the amazing work that our volunteers do and what compels them to give their time and effort to protect Canadian nature. This is an interview with Wildlands League volunteer Andrew Godfrey.
EK: Why do you choose to volunteer at Wildlands League?
AG: I was really inspired by the Wildlands League’s dual mission of land conservation and community engagement. I’ve been paddling my whole life, and have always found that immersing myself in nature is the best reminder of why naturalized places are so important – not only for our planet but for our own mental well-being too. Being a city-dweller, it’s easy to forget sometimes. I was very excited to spread the message in an engaging and hands-on way.
EK: What does Paddle the Rouge mean to you?
AG: Encouraging younger people to think consciously about nature is so powerful. I was lucky enough to have opportunities to go on canoeing and kayaking trips as a kid, and I know that’s where my love for the outdoors began. If we can get the next generation excited about protecting the land now, in 20 years we’ll have a fleet of politicians and business people who prioritize the environment. Paddle the Rouge is the perfect spark for that kind of thinking and behaviour.
EK: What was your most memorable moment from volunteering with us?
AG: Packing a canoe full of kids and adventuring through the reeds and eddies of the Rouge was amazing. It was wild to see the kids shift (very quickly!) from being apprehensive about getting in the boat to pointing out new directions for us to go, asking about wildlife, and excitedly learning new paddle strokes. Of course trudging through two feet of water to get to our boat launch was so fun too!
EK: What WL campaign are you most interested in?
AG: I spend a lot of time in Algonquin, and I’m no stranger to hearing logging happening all over the park. It’s crazy to think that most of the park is at least second-growth, and that there are very few old growth stands left. I would love to see the Algonquin fully protected from logging, and for us to find other ways to generate revenue that have less of an impact on the park’s ecology.
Learn more about our work to protect Algonquin Park.
EK: What does nature mean to you?
AG: Sitting on the Canadian Shield around Georgian Bay, it doesn’t take long to appreciate that the land was here long before us will be here long after. We’re stewards for the planet we’ve inherited, and Nature is the billion-year legacy that we should be working to protect. The natural world is a constant reminder of just how foreign humans are – and that we need to adapt to fit the needs of the planet, and not the other way around.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with Wildlands League, please contact Eugenia at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416-971-9453 Ext. 30.