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Prepare to paddle: Wildsight’s Columbia River Field School accepting applications

Participants of the program partake in a 15-day trip down the Columbia River
Students from Wildsight’s Columbia River Field School paddle through key parts of the Columbia River while learning about the watershed’s complex social, economic and natural history. Photo courtesy of Wildsight.

Wildsight’s Columbia River Field School is returning for 2023. The 15-day program takes students down the river in canoes and teaches them about its “complex social, economic and natural history.”

Throughout the program, students will canoe through key sections of the Canadian side of the Columbia River, camp on its riverbanks and learn in an immersive outdoor environment.

Students will learn “important outdoor skills like reading maps, packing, cooking, setting up camp and leave no trace practices,” Wildsight said in a news release. “Most importantly, students gain an appreciation for this watershed and the intricate role we all play in its protection.”

Participants will meet with a diverse set of guest speakers including Indigenous knowledge holders, government officials, scientists, artists, adventurers and government officials.

In addition to earning Lakewater Level 1 and Canoe Tripping Paddler certifications, participants in the program can also earn academic credit through a partnership with School District 8. The academic credit can be transferred to other school districts in the Columbia Basin as well.

The program is open to new paddlers and experienced canoeists alike and Wildsight encourages applications from youth of all backgrounds.

Applications for the program are now open and will close on Monday, May 22. Applicants can expect to hear back by May 31.

According to the program’s application, “the field school is very expensive to run.”

Wildsight suggests a financial contribution of $1,000 to $2,000 per participant, however, the organization has said that financial aid up to the full cost of programming may be available.

More information and the program application are available online at Wildsight’s website.

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