Conservation efforts earn valuable skills

Clayton Billett remembers what attracted him to the Vancouver Island HSBC Conservation Youth Crew.

Clayton Billett remembers what attracted him to the Vancouver Island HSBC Conservation Youth Crew.

“I recognized what an excellent opportunity the position offered to gain experience in environmentally based projects and I have always enjoyed working outdoors, especially in the summer months,” he said.

The Nature Trust of British Columbia hires crews each summer to tackle a wide variety of conservation activities on properties across the province and learn valuable skills for future employment. Billett has been on the job since early June.

“There are many skills I have gained or improved over the course of the summer including GPS mapping, identifying different types of plant, bird and animal species, which plants are invasive to Vancouver Island, and various removal practices and the steps of land management used in conservation areas.”

The crews perform on-the-ground work as well as attending workshops from specialists in the field on topics such as bird counts, and forest and wetland ecology.

After completing the program, many crew members go on to study conservation and some return as crew supervisors.

“This summer I have gained hands-on work experience in the maintenance of conservation areas, knowledge of the ecosystems on Vancouver Island, and insight into a field which compliments my education,” Billett said. “I will be returning to Vancouver Island University in the fall to continue studying kinesiology and geography.”

The nature trust is a non profit land conservation organization dedicated to protecting B.C.’s natural diversity.