New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network

Mount Allison students biking from Vancouver to Inuvik to engage youth in environmental protection


grassroutes_2013_bikingGroup will have cycled to all three Canadian coastlines raising awareness about climate change

SACKVILLE, NB — A group of university students are biking from Vancouver, BC to Inuvik, NT — over 2,000 km — this summer to raise awareness about climate change. Led by Powell River, BC resident and third-year Mount Allison University environmental studies and international relations student, Graham May, the group — Mount Allison students Gavin Rea and Emily Zoe Walker, Saskia Vaisey (UBC), and Jessica Magonent (McGill) — will embark on the Arctic ride — dubbed ‘Journey to the Midnight Sun’ July 30.

May, age 21, says, “Our ‘Journey to the Midnight Sun’ is about building a dialogue between youth in northern and southern Canada, and supporting existing sustainability initiatives in northern Canada. We will be leading interactive workshops about climate change and youth leadership in remote communities.”

The initiative is in support of GrassRoutes, a non-profit organization, co-founded by May, which serves to educate and support small-scale projects around environmental education and stewardship through various activities. Established in 2012, Grassroutes raised over $14,000 for youth environmental projects and hosted 22 environmental leadership workshops with students during their cross-Canada tour that summer. This year, the group will partner with the Yukon-based organization, Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE), in support of the Purple Bike Project, a bike-sharing program for youth in the Yukon.

“We are thrilled to partner with BYTE to deliver these workshops as they have extensive experience in the north,” says May. “This part of Canada is dramatically affected by climate change but poorly understood by southerners. We’re hoping to change that.”

GrassRoutes has led a number of environmental workshops across Canada and internationally as well as a cycling journey in Turkey while May was on academic exchange this past spring. The ‘Journey to the Midnight Sun’ project was also presented at a Youth Arctic Council conference held in Norway in July.

The GrassRoutes team will be documenting their Arctic journey in a blog, video interviews, and a short documentary. Follow their journey at, find them on Facebook —, or follow on Twitter @Grass_Routes.

GrassRoutes partners for the Journey to the Midnight Sun project include BYTE, the Sierra Youth Coalition, Leadership Mount Allison, and Air North.

Copyright 2013
A Ginger Design