Chetwynd Public Library

Paul Dampier cared passionately about the beauty of Northern British Columbia, and about the opportunities the area presented for experiencing the outdoors, and lifelong learning.

The Paul Dampier Endowment Award was established in his memory to support events and activities that pay tribute to those passions.

Last fall a partnership was formed between Tumbler Ridge Public Library and Chetwynd Public Library to put forward the successful application to the Paul Dampier Endowment Fund for the ?Writing and Walking Sticks Weekend? held May 25 ? 27 at Gwillim Lake at the Pat O?Reilly Outdoor/Environmental Studies Centre.

The Award provided the seed money, and true to the principles of the award the weekend brought together people who are renowned in their field for writing, performing, and outdoor skills, and those who were interested in learning more about the craft of writing, publishing and marketing, the art of performance, stewardship of the environment, and spending more time outside in this beautiful area. At only $50.00 per participant for the weekend which included accommodation and meals, people had an opportunity to take part in workshops, presentations, readings, musical performance, hikes led by Fred Booker and Mila Lansdowne, and a birding expedition led by Charles Helm.

Friday evening opened with a slide presentation by Andy Kadziolka, a seasoned hiker in the Monkman area, and at lunch on Sunday, Larry White from the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society, shared three short clips featuring more of the hiking opportunities surrounding the community of Tumbler Ridge. Challenging any other area in the world to come up with as an incredible 2 km as the Cascades, the video clip would entice any viewer to get out there and see them. Two last minute additions to the weekend that stimulated plenty of discussion were a presentation on the Winter Wren, unique to the Tumbler Ridge area by Ornithologist Darren Irwin, and a DVD called ?Heard of Poets? produced by Josh Massey (who attended) and others in Ottawa.

The writers were Ken Belford, Trent Ernst, Shirlee Matheson, Barry McKinnon, and Bill and Linda Studley all of whom not only held workshops, but also made themselves available for discussion and sharing throughout the day, and weekend. Joined by participants in the workshop, Linda and Bill entertained with music into the night around the campfire on Saturday.

Mila Lansdowne offered workshops on creativity and Greg Walter, connected with the Education Centre for many years was available throughout Saturday for orienteering, map reading, canoeing or hiking. With so many choices, and with so many dynamic, creative and engaged participants a common lament was ?there are too many things I want to do happening at the same time!?

This weekend would not have been possible without the support of many others besides the Paul Dampier Endowment Fund/NLC Foundation. These include the Boards of both libraries who take a wide view of how libraries can engage in offering learning opportunities, the Chetwynd Community Arts Council, Tumbler Ridge Community Arts Council, Peace Liard Regional Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society, Chetwynd Environmental Society, Districts of Tumbler Ridge and Chetwynd, Macs on Main, those who gave presentations and workshops, and all those who attended. A special thank you to Doug Halpin for taking good care of the guests during our stay at the Educational Centre.

Whenever a first time event goes well, everyone begins to think of ?next time?. The Terry Lansdowne Foundation has been established with the intent of supporting initiatives like the ?Writing and Walking Sticks Weekend? and people had a chance to learn more about the Foundation and to contribute to it at the event. Anyone wishing to support the Foundation, can contact the Tumbler Ridge Library.