Building Fences to Help the Environment
Letter from... Canada! Geography student Robert Brundage tells about a day spent working outdoors.
Oct 29, 2015
At the University of Alberta, some courses offer the possibility of participating in a “Community Service Learning” (CSL) program instead of writing a longer paper. In this kind of program, you do highly practical charitable work, typically at a nonprofit organization (NPO). As part of the CSL program, a number of representatives of local NPOs came to one of my seminars and introduced their organizations. They included public garden associations, urban fruit recyclers, an organization promoting organic farming on the city outskirts, and the U of A Campus Food Bank. But the organization that piqued my interest the most was the Edmonton and Area Land Trust (EALT).
The EALT is a nonprofit environmental organization devoted to conserving and protecting natural environments in the area. It manages more than 100 plots of land around Edmonton. Several times a year, various projects and tasks are implemented there with help from volunteers.
It was my good fortune that there was another project coming up this year, so I got the chance to participate in “Fencing for the Forest” in mid-September. The goal was to build a fence on one of the properties, because it is regularly devastated by snowmobiles in the winter. The fence is supposed to prevent human-caused erosion on a slope, thereby protecting the flora and fauna.
The land was located about an hour’s drive south of Edmonton. About ten volunteers and I carpooled there in the morning. After we started work, everyone found a niche amazingly quickly. My job was to use a cordless power screwdriver to attach the slats of the fence to the posts with screws ten centimeters long.
We worked for five hours in all – a sweaty job as the sun beat down on us. In the end, we were very happy with the results and proud of what we had accomplished. The other volunteers were all amazingly nice; there was a lot of laughter, and we helped each other out. I have never experienced such great teamwork before. When I got back home, I fell into bed, happy and exhausted.