My dad, Gord Vaadeland, has been a huge inspiration to me all of my life.
Thanks to him, I have learned a lot about music and especially the land. He used to take me horse back riding and camping out in the meadows by the fire using our saddle blankets for bedding and our saddles for pillows. It was way more comfortable than it sounds!
Most of these camping trips occurred in the Prince Albert National Park during the time that my dad owned and operated Sturgeon River Ranch. I would go along on his horse riding tours through the park and these were the best learning experiences for me in my life. He taught me how to saddle a horse, how to ride properly and best of all, how to live comfortably with the nature around me.
If it wasn’t for my dad, I would have grown up like most kids to be scared of Wolves and Bears, and I would have probably grown up to seek civilization and “safety.” However, I realize now that I have acquired a mindset much like my father’s.
Gord Vaadeland doesn’t use his power as a human to dominate the nature around him, but rather to lift up the plants and animals and make them equal with himself. He has passed that way of thinking on to me. I know that my main job is to be a steward of this earth, just like my father is.
I believe that as humans, we are given that job from the moment we are able to walk. Sleeping under the stars, learning how to cook over a fire, refraining from city life and learning how to ride a horse and drive a wagon at a young age gave me the values that I am very passionate about today.
Being lucky enough to grow up this way also gave me the understanding that everything must be and can be accomplished by working hard for it. I am able to play instruments such as the Banjo, Guitar and Autoharp, and I have build a traditional settlers log cabin using only hand tools. This is all thanks to the hard work ethic and respect for nature that my dad passed on to me!
Gord Vaadeland is the executive director of CPAWS Saskatchewan. You can read more about him on our staff page.