Could you please give examples of such activities?
Educational events: The Sweetgrass School Trip is held each fall in partnership with the local school board and involves Park staff and local Elders taking grade 7 and 8 students from Fort Smith (Northwest Territories) out into the Park for three-days of land experiences. The kids learn about the history of the Sweetgrass area, and plants and wildlife of the boreal grasslands. Local Indigenous Elders work with the children on cultural programming including traditional harvesting, country food and Indigenous storytelling.
Research collaborations: The Peace-Athabasca Delta Ecological Monitoring Program is made up of Indigenous governments, traditional harvesters, industry, government, and non-governmental organizations and uses both science and traditional knowledge to develop an assessment of the current health of the delta ecosystems. Park management practices are also informed by the Co-operative Management Committee which includes local Indigenous governments and park management who work together on wildlife management and other resource conservation initiatives.
How do they contribute to the success of the Site’s conservation? What is the impact?
The Sweetgrass School Trip directly builds a bigger awareness of the Sweetgrass site, its cultural importance to local Indigenous people amongst local schoolchildren who are immersed for three days in the distant backcountry of the Park with Indigenous Elders and park staff. These wilderness experiences have built a greater understanding of the park among schoolchildren, many of whom come to us years later and talk positively about the experience.
The Peace-Athabasca Delta Ecological Monitoring Program is specifically built on the model of shared ways of knowing. In other words, the combination of traditional knowledge and science is intrinsic to the model, and helps us shape a vision of the delta that is informed by each perspective. Management decisions can then be based on both; traditional knowledge and scientific data.
Do any of these CEPA activities highlight cultural values and community participation? And if yes, Could you please give examples?
Both of the examples mentioned above include significant involvement from local Indigenous partners whose input directly influences the management practices within the Park. Also, CEPA activities contribute in how the park is interpreted to visitors through outreach programming, the visitor’s experiences and the education programs.