SCA Goes International to Protect Endangered Species with Domtar Volunteers in Canada
This September, SCA leaders went international to protect endangered species in the Canadian interior — teaming up with national supporter Domtar to restore the BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Since 2012, Domtar has partnered with SCA to support SCA’s youth conservation crews in cities across the US, as well as local restoration projects in communities where Domtar employees live and work. SCA crew leaders from New York City and San Francisco, after a summer leading crews of high school students in parks restoration projects, were excited to travel across borders to help facilitate conservation service in British Columbia.
For several members of the team, it was their first time on Canadian soil. “I always had this beautiful image in my head of British Columbia,” said New York City leader Leelah Pewu, whose family immigrated from West Africa. “But I never traveled to the West Coast until I got the opportunity with SCA. Coming out here, seeing the wildlife, and meeting all these great people has really shown me how many amazing things there are to see on this continent.”
SCA crew leaders welcomed almost 100 Domtar employee volunteers and their families to the BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops on September 24th. Domtar Mill Manager Jean-Claude Allaire congratulated volunteers on being the largest group of Domtar employees ever to attend a service event with SCA through Domtar’s EarthChoice Ambassadors program. “Some of us grew up in Kamloops and some of us are new here, but it is wonderful to see such great numbers coming together to serve the community where we live and work.”
Guided by SCA leaders, volunteers dispersed across the 106-acre wildlife park to repaint playgrounds and pavilions, remove invasive vines from wildlife enclosures, and clear weeds from wildlife ponds to create habitat for migrating waterfowl.
“We don’t consider ourselves a zoo,” said Facilities Supervisor Scott Simpson.
“We work with over 70 threatened or endangered species native to the interior of British Columbia, including grizzly bears, arctic wolves, bald eagles, and burrowing owls. Many of these animals have been injured or orphaned and are getting a second chance here. But we’re a big park, and it can be tough to keep up with everything that needs to be done. This is more volunteers than we’ve had in two years, and we’re so thankful — the park never looked better!”
As British Columbia is home to 25 percent of the continent’s remaining grizzly bears, and is a key habitat area for many raptors and other threatened species, there is no better place to connect young people to nature. Many Domtar employees brought their children to the event to work side by side preserving habitat and admiring the many species that call the park home. Between painting and pulling invasives, volunteers watched elk grazing and grizzlies splashing in the ponds.
“My father helped to found the Wildlife Park back in 1965,” said one Domtar employee who attended with his family, “so we’re carrying this ethic through the generations.”
Saturday’s event followed successful partnership projects with Domtar last year in Texas and North Carolina. Big thanks to Domtar for their continuing support of SCA programs across the country!
Read more about Domtar’s partnership with SCA.