Hamilton philanthropists hike the massive Bruce Trail for kids
The Bruce Trail for Kids crew has undertaken similar expeditions in the Arctic
By Adam Carter
CBC News (Sept 28, 2012)
Who says kids don't get excited about anything anymore?
Hundreds of excited students visited the Mount Mary Retreat Centre in Ancaster Thursday to welcome a group of philanthropists and adventurers who are hiking the sprawling Bruce Trail to raise money for children in need. The team is hoping to raise over $400,000 for charities like nutrition programs for students.
Peter Turkstra, Fred Losani, Mark MacLennan and Finnish sportsman Teemu Lakkasuo started the Bruce Trail Expedition Monday — and plan to hike 30 kilometres a day on the 885-kilometre footpath.
“We came walking over the hill on the trail and the kids were screaming and cheering,” MacLennan said, while in the midst of signing autographs and posing for pictures with students.
“But we're not here to be superstars, we're here to help kids.”
This is only day four of the hiker's 30-day expedition and fatigue can set in quickly. On Thursday, the group had covered about 20 kilometres in just over four hours.
MacLennan says he can feel the pressure in his legs already.
“But you've got to be tough on the mental side of things,” he said. “You just have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. You can't turn back.”
These four are no strangers to adventure — they've set out on similar journeys through the North and South Poles in the past — and raised over 1 million dollars for charity in the process.
MacLennan learned about toughness firsthand on their 2008 trip to the Arctic, when frostbite almost cost him a thumb.
He'd taken off one of his gloves to tighten a strap, and that was all it took for the brutal cold to set in.
“My thumb turned black — it was close,” he said. “If I had kept going, I would've lost it for sure.”
To coincide with the trek, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board launched the Bruce Trail Expedition school program, an interactive web tool that connects different aspects of the expedition to the elementary and secondary school curriculum.
It lets students follow the hikers as they're going, through Twitter, Skype, satellite phone-ins and map tracking. It also has links to resources to help kids learn about the trail, which turns 50 this year. The website was developed by teacher and librarian Andy Burns. He had been in contact with the hikers on two of their previous expeditions.
“I wanted to create something that was open-ended so that the kids could be on an adventure too,” Burns said.
“Asking questions is key to who we are as people. It's the energy for any kind of learning,” he said. “It really comes through wonder and curiosity.”
The school board also used the event to celebrate the fact that all 57 of their schools are now “Eco Certified.”
Eco Certification is an environmental education and certification program that helps schools develop ecological literacy and environmental practices to reduce their footprint on the world.
“I'm just so proud of them,” said Patricia Amos, the director of education for the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District school board. “You go into schools and you see their plaques sitting proudly on the walls, and you see the actions of students and staff — it's amazing.”
“It's not just the 'Three R's” anymore. It's a total understanding of waste elimination and reduction — even how they use their hydro at home.”
You can find out more about the Bruce Trail expedition team by visiting http://brucetrailforkids.caVisit - Home (The Buzz Board)