Diana Shklanka and her dog Alpo are intrepid trekkers through the fields of the Cariboo area. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

SMART 55: Diana Shklanka enjoys wandering amongst Cariboo wildflowers

Outings with her dog are how this senior is spending her retirement years

Diana Shklanka and her dog Alpo enjoy walks in the woods of the Cariboo, but likely for different reasons, because Shklanka is in it for the wildflowers.

Shklanka is originally from Hafford, Sask. but has been living and working in the Cariboo for many years and retired 15 or so years ago from her role as an English literature instructor for Thompson Rivers University.

Since then she has been keeping detailed records of the various wildflowers she has spotted and identified on her daily summer walkabouts.

“I tried gardening, but everything died on me,” joked Shklanka.

At 81 years old, she said she has slowed down from the more adventurous wanderings she used to undertake, and no longer goes as far back into the bush to the more rugged terrain she did in her younger days due to her arthritis.

But while she is very careful about the risks she takes, she is still actively volunteering, and is on the curriculum committee for the Cariboo Chilcotin Elder College.

She used to teach art history courses for the elder college as well.

Shklanka and her rescue dog Alpo, a poodle she has had registered as a purebred, were out and about with a group of elder college students on Saturday, May 28.

She was the coordinator for the workshop Wildflowers of the Cariboo, helping organize the participants and provide directions to meet up with instructor Vanessa Robinson.

Her love for the native wildflowers was obvious, as was her affection for Alpo. The pair were going to compete in a dog show the next day with the local kennel club, though Shklanka was not optimistic about Alpo’s chances, she wanted him to give it a shot.

Read more: Smart 55: Peg McKinlay reflects back on almost 100 years of life


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