2012-04-21 21st Annual Climb and Run for Wilderness an Earth Day Success
Four little bear cubs scaled the Calgary Tower Saturday to celebrate Earth Day and raise money for Alberta’s wild lands, wild water and wildlife.
little bear cubs scaled the Calgary Tower Saturday to celebrate Earth Day and
raise money for Alberta’s wild lands, wild water and wildlife.
With a combined age of 14, the four pint-sized climbers were among an estimated 1,150 participants in the 21st Annual Climb & Run for Wilderness fundraiser downtown.
“It’s for the bears,” said the oldest member of the Four Bear Cubs team, Wyler Rempel, age 5. He and sister Eden, 3, climbed the 802 steps with friends Laurel Thorsteinson and Sofia L’Heureux, both also 3. Parents accompanied the kids and helped recruit sponsors for the Alberta Wilderness Association event.
“I think all of us like to be outside in nature. We appreciate what this organization is doing,” said mom Jessika L’Heureux.
Last year, about $135,000 was collected and a similar tally is expected this year; a final figure will be available early next week. Saturday’s colourful event featured a cast of conservation-minded characters including climbers in outlandish outfits – as well as four uniformed firefighters toting 65 pounds of gear each to the tower top.
Fire Capt. Danny Freeman stayed at the tower base – just in case of an emergency. “They can’t climb too many times – if we have a fire we need them to have the energy to fight a fire,” he joked. It was the first tower climb for firemen Tom Barker, Todd Berry, Mike Reid and Colin White, though Freeman noted trudging stairs “is a big part of what they do” at work.
Calgary Liberal MLA David Swann completed the climb with his son-in-law and three grandkids. “We are losing our environment at an alarming rate – events like these are important to highlight the commitment people will make. Our wild lands are a healing place, and we need leadership on this in the province.”
Grade 4 & 5 students from Alex Munro School did their part by painting two murals in the tower staircase during Spring Break, then making crafts such as greeting cards and painted canvas checkerboards from recycled/repurposed materials. They sold them at a display to raise money for the AWA.
“It was a good opportunity to tie this into our curriculum,” said teacher Jon Morrison, who teamed up with teacher Cathie Gould on the project. “Bringing them out here socializes them, it’s changing attitudes and the tie-in with this event and the AWA is just perfect,” Gould added.
“It’s a serious cause, but people have such a good time. It’s our celebration of Earth Day and Earth Week, and raising awareness about environmental issues,” said AWA conservation specialist Nigel Douglas. “By the end of the day, I’m always totally inspired by the people I see.”
The five-hour event drew both teams and individuals age 3 to 93, completing enough ascents to top the elevation of Mount Everest.
For the third year in a row, Jonathan Heinz took home the prize as the fastest racer and climber. He also scaled the tower more times than anyone else – 30 times. (Last year, he broke the record with 31 ascents.) Shannon Winslade climbed 25 times – more than any other female. Other awards went to different age groups and categories.
Entertainment throughout the day featured local performers and included everything from belly dancers to clowns, mascots and face-painters. More than 30 groups took part in the Wild Alberta Expo fair.
The AWA is grateful to its many sponsors, 150 volunteers and the hundreds of supporters who made this event such a success. Please see our website for a complete list of winners and updates on funds raised.
For more information:
Christyann Olson, AWA executive director (403) 283-2025
Nigel Douglas, AWA conservation specialist (403) 283-2025