There's always something new to discover at FortWhyte Alive.
Last week, our pigs turned one-year-old! Staff, interns and volunteers celebrated at FortWhyte Farms with a super special swine birthday party, and looked on as our guests of honour devoured birthday cakes comprised of compost, whipped cream and sprinkles. Happy birthday pigs!
Tickets for FortWhyte Farms' second annual Harvest Supper are now on sale. Please visit fortwhytefarms.com to purchase your tickets for the outdoor harvest feast in support of youth programming at FortWhyte Farms. Here are a few shots from last year's supper to remind you of warm autumn days. We hope to see you there!
Current global temperatures are warmer than they have ever been during at least the past five centuries, probably even for more than a millennium (Jansen et al., IPCC, 2007). The main contributor to this ‘global warming’ is the consistent and perpetual rise of greenhouse gases (GHG) – such as carbon dioxide (CO2) – in our atmosphere. While there has been some debate in the past as to whether this is human-caused or a natural phenomenon, the time for doubt has passed. The International Panel on Climate Change has unequivocally affirmed the warming of our climate system, and linked it directly to human activities, such as transportation (cars and planes), deforestation and industrial processes.
Scientists measure the CO2 in our atmosphere in parts per million (ppm). Over the past 650,000 years CO2 concentration varied between a low of 180 parts per million (ppm) during cold glacial times and a high of 300 ppm during warm interglacials. Over the past century, CO2 levels rapidly increased well out of this range, and are now at 410 ppm. It can take up to 200 years for CO2 to be removed from our atmosphere.
It is widely understood by the global scientific community, that the high levels of C02 in our atmosphere will cause a number of changes to our climate. These include increased atmospheric and oceanic temperatures, ocean acidification, and melting of glaciers and polar ice sheets. This is resulting in higher frequency of extreme weather events, such as drought, fires, and heavy rain events and flooding.
These facts may seem overwhelming, but we all have a responsibility to do our part to combat climate change so that our children and grandchildren have a healthy planet to sustain them.
- from Volunteer Canada - Family volunteering: A thread to connect and instill values
Jane Zoutman and Barry Warrack have been bringing their family to FortWhyte to explore nature for over 30 years. Their children, Sarah and Christopher, have attended school programs and were enrolled in summer and winter day camps. Wanting to contribute to the organization, Jane started volunteering as a FortWhyte School Program Leader in 1998. She offers her time each week leading groups of children on walks or snowshoe hikes through the forest and marshes and teaching them about nature, history, and sustainable living. Jane donates not only her interpretive skills, she designs and sews program bags for the education team, and mends winter clothing that FWA keeps on hand for those needing warm wear for outdoor programs.
Volunteering offers each family member an opportunity to develop new skills, and apply existing knowledge. Barry started volunteering at the Fall Goose Flights because he enjoys interacting with the people who come to enjoy the geese. You will see Jane and Barry working together in the gardens, maintaining the water ponds, and installing backyard wood duck boxes in the spring. Barry also volunteers as a Sod House Singer. Their daughter Sarah began volunteering as a camp counsellor after “graduating” as a camper, which helped her get into the Faculty of Education and later to obtain a teaching job. Sarah has also volunteered at FortWhyte Farms in the youth program, which led to her employment as a Crew Leader. She is currently studying to prepare for her Master’s degree, and works at the Buffalo Stone Café during special events. Their son Chris is the “back-up” volunteer who steps in at the last minute when that extra pair of hands is needed.
The Zoutman/Warrack family have individually found their way to give back to the community. Volunteering at FortWhyte has allowed each family member to enjoy meaningful time with each other, while doing something they care about and building collective FortWhyte memories to be retold again and again. No doubt, granddaughter Adriana will be the next generation to explore FortWhyte Alive and make her own stories.
It was a beautiful night to celebrate volunteerism at FortWhyte Alive. Wrapping up a very busy spring season, FortWhyte Alive staff and volunteers gathered to toast our dedicated spring season volunteers at the annual Spring Season Wind-Up. And there was reason to celebrate: the 87 volunteers in attendance recorded a whopping 1,100 volunteer hours this spring alone. Thank you FortWhyte Alive volunteers!