#SFTop25 finalist 2017 - Erinn Drage

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Age: 21
Hometown: Halifax, Nova Scotia

In 2014, Erinn Drage took a leap of faith and completely stepped out of her comfort zone by traveling to Arctic Canada for the first time.

 Erinn’s trip to Salluit, Quebec sparked her curiosity in everything Northern. It was her work with a health-education non-profit that brought her to the Arctic for the first time, but her love and curiosity for the northern environment that grabbed her heart. On this trip, she immersed herself in Inuit culture and where she was blown away by their ties to the land and their passion for the environment. At first glance, she saw the land as barren. Her Inuit friends showed her something unique and wonderfully special that she continues to carry with her to this day.

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Since her first exposure to the Arctic, Erinn has involved herself in passionate political projects and has shared her concern for Canada's natural environment. She is also constantly developing as an advocate and outdoorswoman, bettering her technical skills in guiding and exploring while serving as an ambassador and mentor to hundreds of youth from around the country with projects like Experiences Canada's Canada 150 & Me project.

One of Erinn’s achievements, leading a Trails in Tandem expedition, is a documentary project that explores the connections between southern Canadian youth and northern Indigenous youth through the Canol Youth Leadership Hike in Canada's Northwest Territories. This project uses cross-cultural communication as a springboard to discovering Canada's diverse cultures, historic trails, and each other through adventure in one of Canada's most remote and pristine regions.

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Erinn had the opportunity to pitch her team’s project at a grant competition hosted by MEC Outdoor Nation. The audience was captivated and the judges impressed by the unique combination of important cultural dialogue and immersion in nature.  Their project walked away with one of three grants available to the dozens of high-quality projects pitched. The prospects of the Trails in Tandem Expedition are inspiring and uplifting to Canadians, and will contribute to an increased appreciation for and understanding of our country’s geography, both physical and human.

Erinn's commitment to the environment in this project is clear. At its very core, the project seeks to showcase to Canadians the cultural and natural beauty of the Sahtu Region through the Canol Trail, a region steeped in history. Her commitment to the environment goes far beyond solely showcasing. Erinn seeks to connect nature and culture in a way that makes environmental protection a priority for all Canadians -- young, old, majority, minority, new, and of heritage.

It’s obvious that Erinn has a bounty of good intention to connect others to nature and to help protect and preserve Canada’s north, both environmentally and culturally. It is her outstanding dedication to our far north and the people that live there that landed her on this year’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25.