The Wildlife Ambassador program promotes grassroots involvement in communicating about responsible recreation and wildlife safety ethics in the Bow Valley, Kananaskis Country and surrounding communities.
Each spring, WildSmart and Alberta Parks staff train about 30 dedicated volunteers in wildlife ecology, how to avoid and handle wildlife encounters, effective communication and public engagement, and conflict resolution. Training for new Wildlife Ambassadors takes place over three days and includes shadowing WildSmart staff and experienced Ambassadors in the field. Volunteers are also first aid certified.
From June to September, Ambassadors deliver roving or stationary wildlife talks on trails, at trail heads, at community events and in campgrounds throughout the Bow Valley and Kananaskis Country, typically working in teams of two or three. Ambassadors use animal artifacts and other educational resources to engage people in conversations about wildlife habitat needs and safe trail use. The Ambassador program runs at least two sets of roves on trails every weekend, as well as on weekdays according to volunteers’ availability.
Since the Wildlife Ambassador program began in 2007, Ambassadors have contributed over 6,000 volunteer hours and spoken to tens of thousands of recreational trail users, Bow Valley residents and visitors from throughout Alberta, Canada and abroad.
The Wildlife Ambassador program is a shining example of how the Biosphere Institute seeks to empower community members to engage their peers in meaningful discussions about the uniqueness of our natural environment and how we can all help protect it.
Wildlife Ambassadors are educators and community messengers. They do not act in an enforcement capacity. If you are interested in volunteering with the Wildlife Ambassador program, please check the WildSmart and Alberta Parks websites in January for an application.