Youth rangers close out summer

Submitted by
the Stewardship
Youth Rangers

The final week of the Stewardship Youth Ranger-Ogimaa Binesiiyog Partnership Program got off to a roaring start as we visited the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s forward attack base at Vedette Lake for mock fire training with Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services FireRangers.
We toured the camp and learned about the different uses for the buildings.
FireRangers Josh Leatherdale, Drew Bursey, Doug Rychell, and Chase Kowalchuk showed us how the portable Wajax pumps are used in fighting forest fires.
We learned how to start the pump, connect the hoses, and troubleshoot certain problems.
We also learned about the importance of communication and how important it is to work as a team to control a fire, stop a fire from spreading, and finally to put that fire out!
We then were taught how to roll up the hoses and pack them up properly.
We got a bit bogged down at the Cranberry Peatlands Interpretive Trail in Alberton Township as we helped clean up garbage and clear grass, branches, and debris growing onto the boardwalk.
Rainy River Valley Field Naturalists president Terry Kawulia told us how the group is planning to extend the trail farther out into the bog.
Several of us ventured off the trail and out into the bog to measure out the area for the extension.
We then spent the rest of the day working on our presentations and video–something rangers do every year to showcase our projects.
Our celebration barbecue was attended by more than 45 parents, family friends, and community partners who hosted us and helped with our projects over the summer.
This annual event gives us a chance to share all of our activities and thank all those who made this great summer possible.
We were able to share our presentations, good food, and our final video with staff from the MNRF’s Fort Frances District, and program partners from the United Native Friendship Centre and Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong.
Our final event of the season was the Youth and Elders Summit held at the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre near Stratton.
We had a drumming ceremony with four songs and a smudging ceremony. After that, one of the Elders said a prayer, and the drummers played the food song before we dined together.
We had about 30 people there, with many Elders travelling long distances from their communities to be with us.
The Elders all were smiling when they saw all the rangers had learned to introduce themselves in the Ojibwa language. We did our presentations and showed our video, which had some funny parts, so people seemed to like that, too!
After lunch, we went out to the ancient burial mounds, where tour guides from the historical centre told us about local medicinal plants and the history of the mounds.
With the Elders along, we were able to learn more about indigenous culture and traditions.
Back at the roundhouse, we shared more drumming and a ceremony where we talked together about our program, celebrated our partnership, and wished everybody success for the future.
All in all, the summer was filled with great activities. We all learned so much and would like to thank everybody that helped us with the program.

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