By Tim Kalinowski on December 24, 2020.
The Alberta outfitting industry has been enduring a tough year in 2020 with international tourism down and far fewer guided hunting opportunities, but it is looking forward, hopefully, to a bounce-back year in 2021, says Alberta Professional Outfitters Society (APOS) managing director Jeana Schuurman.
“We bring in guided hunters from around the world to enjoy a hunting experience in Alberta,” she explained. “It has been a tough year for members this year, and we’re looking at next year with fingers crossed.”
In the meantime, said Schuurman, APOS is doing what it can to continue to advocate for sustainable-use hunting in Alberta, and to help educate young people on the value of proper wildlife resource conservation.
“A few years ago I saw a program coming out of the States where they had a package teachers could borrow from a hunting organization down there,” Schuurman explained. “It had an assortment of furs and skulls, and antler sheds, and we thought that was a pretty neat initiative. It was also talking about the North American model for wildlife conservation, which is really a unique model that incorporates sustainable use as one of the pillars. We saw that there, and we wanted to bring that into the Alberta context with our own species that call Alberta home. And also talking about some of the neat things in Alberta where funding gets put back into conservation.”
APOS has prepared educational kids for school kids in Grade 3 and 4 classes which can be borrowed free-of-charge by teachers to promote sustainable use message.
“It is about getting familiar with wildlife, and getting excited about wildlife,” explained Schuurman.
“As we are looking toward the next generation of school children who are going to be adults some day, and contributing in that way, I think we need to start having that conversation about what the distinction is between preservation and conservation. Under a conservation-based model you have a sustainable use component that helps fund all of the efforts that go on within the landscape around habitat conservation and wildlife science, and really providing back to the resource.”
Schuurman said she also has a list of outfitters who are members of APOS who are willing to talk to students in schools to talk about their own wilderness experiences.
For more information on the program visit http://www.apos.ab.ca/Community/WildlifeEducation.
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