Students present views at Eco Foru

Environmental issues and the need for long-term global conservation were two of the primary highlights for a pair of Smoky River region students who recently had the privilege of presenting their views at the first annual Youth Eco Forum this past December in the City of Champions (Edmonton).
Maggie Beattie of McLennan and David Maisonneuve of Guy had the distinct pleasure of being two of six northern Alberta youth delegates between the ages of 14 to 16 to represent their province and country at the Dec. 2 to 5 forum. Additional students attending included: Meghan Burren of High Level, Rachelle Pawlowich of Keg River, Julie Bliss of Peace River and Melissa Podruzny of Grande Prairie.
The six delegates worked hand-in-hand with additional youths from places like Alaska, Japan, China, Russia and Finland in an effort to learn and exchange ideas relating to a number of world-wide topics ranging from energy and waste management to protected areas.
“Ultimately, if you want to effect long-term change in conservation of the environment, you need the youth,” said Priscilla Post Wohl, representative of the Northern Forum. “We were very pleased with the students and their perception and commitment to environmental protection.”
Students attending the four-day venue expanded their knowledge of common environmental concerns by participating in various presentations, workshops and field trips prior to developing a Youth Eco Declaration.
That declaration, which is being presented to regional governments and the United Nations, consists of a vision statement and action plan designed specifically to address the final findings among students.
Peace River MLA and Northern Alberta Development Council Chairperson Gary Friedel, said he was proud of the positive contributions which the six regional students made at the Youth Eco Forum.
“On behalf of the Northern Alberta Development Council, I would like to congratulate the students from northern Alberta on their participation. “Educating our youth is crucial for responsible development in the north and we are proud to support this event,” he explained.
Post Wohl says the Youth Eco Forum falls directly under the umbrella of the Northern Forum, established back in 1991 as a way of fostering environmental education among youth in the north.
The Northern Forum is a non-profit international organization with 25 members representing 10 northern countries. These members, of which the Government of Alberta is affiliated with, meet to address common political, environmental and economic issues.
Last month’s Youth Eco Forum was hosted by Alberta Environment in conjunction with Northern Forum officials in Alberta and Hokkaido, Japan, as well as the Northern Alberta Development Council

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