Bois-des-Esprits has a new protector


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This article was published 16/11/2020 (928 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Bois-des-Esprits in Royalwood has a new friend in 11-year-old Luka Gray.

In October, Save Our Seine shared Luka’s story on Facebook after he spent more than an hour picking up trash near the pedestrian bridge at John Bruce Road in order to help wildlife stay healthy and flourish.

“My mom and I were on a bike ride and I saw some turtles from the bridge. I went under the bridge to get a closer look, then I saw a ton of garbage and knew I had to do something,” he said.

Supplied photo Luka Gray spent time last month picking up trash and garbage under and around the pedestrian bridge near John Bruce Road in the Bois-des-Esprits.

Luka was inspired by his grandfather, a conservation volunteer in Alberta, who tracks collared bears. Luka said his favourite part of the Bois-des-Esprits is the wildlife.

“I love all the animals,” he said. “Once I saw a huge tortoise, I thought at first was a stone. I have also seen a family of foxes, with the babies playing like little puppies. I want to make sure they all have a safe and clean place to grow up.”  

The St. Vital resident first discovered the Bois this spring with his mother Sheri on a bike ride to visit his aunt in Island Lakes shortly before his birthday.

“It was the best present ever,” Luka said. “We’re always rewarded with amazing views of wildlife when we visit the Bois,” added Sheri.

The garbage that Luka collected included plastic bags and beer cans, the latter of which he has turned in to help raise money for another cause close to his heart, a northern dog rescue organization.

Luka’s next project is to create fridge magnets from his photographs of the Bois-des-Esprits as a fundraiser. Sheri is highly supportive of her son’s efforts.

“Every time we visit the Bois, Luka will spend five to 10 minutes standing there, watching the river. I’m proud that he feels this close connection to nature and wants to act on it.”

Luka plans on volunteering with Save Our Seine in the spring. His ambition is to become a conservation officer. He is grateful for his mother’s encouragement.

“I’m so lucky to have a mom who supports me,” he said.

Luka has a message for other like-minded youth:

“If you love the forest and animals the way I do, you can make a difference. Go and do it — you’ll feel good.”

To learn more about Save Our Seine events and volunteering opportunities, visit

Tanya Misseghers is a community correspondent for Royalwood.

Tanya Misseghers

Tanya Misseghers
Royalwood community correspondent

Tanya Misseghers is a community correspondent for Royalwood.

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