Speak to your wild side at Wells Gray Park

Taylor Fry, Contributor Ω

On the weekend of Sept. 14, Wells Gray Park saw a gathering of some of Canada’s top writers and scientists discussing conservation at the Speak to the Wild conference hosted by Thompson Rivers University and the Wells Gray World Heritage Committee.

Speak to the Wild took place in Wells Grey Park, noted for its many waterfalls. Frank Kovalchek/Flickr Commons

Speak to the Wild took place in Wells Grey Park, noted for its many waterfalls. Frank Kovalchek/Flickr Commons

Speak to the Wild was a four day gathering of people across multiple disciplines to discuss the importance of wild areas and their place in the human psyche, as well as the current pressures on these areas. The goal of the conference was to help develop ideas for land ethics in Canada.

The event led guests on hikes through the park, highlighting its historical and environmental importance.

According to TRU’s dean of science, Thomas Dickinson, who helped organize the event, those headlining the conference were brought together due to backgrounds and expertise in writing and the science of conservation.

Guests included Canadian poet Patrick Lane, ethnobotanist Nancy Turner and Faisal Moola, director general of Ontario and Northern Canada for the David Suzuki Foundation.

The event was part of a larger, year-long series of events co-hosted by TRU and Edgewood Blue focusing on the Wells Gray World Heritage Year, a campaign to achieve world heritage site status for Wells Gray Park.

The events are in celebration of the Wells Gray TRU Wilderness Centre currently being built. This centre will replace the old red schoolhouse that has been in use since 1992.

In addition to helping coordinate the event, Dickinson has been involved in promoting understanding of the values and importance of Wells Gray Park.

The last event of the series will be held on Oct. 5, with visits from Yorke Edwards, a nature interpretation visionary, and Robert Bateman, a Canadian naturalist and painter. The following day will see the opening of the TRU field station by Dickinson himself.