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. Training includes first aid and Bear Aware as well as the safe handling of power tools.
“Having the chance to work outdoors and make a positive impact on the environment is very rewarding,” said Dawson Clermont, member of the Vancouver Island HSBC Conservation Youth Crew.
“My family has a long history in the conservation field – my dad working in the field for 30 years and my mom on the Garry Oak ecosystem recovery team — so I’ve had a bit of interest in that sort of thing for most of my life.”
On Vancouver Island, the crew has worked on conservation properties from the Nanaimo River Estuary and Buttertubs Marsh to Lazo Marsh and the Salmon River Estuary.
“I’ve learned a lot about many different species of birds and plants both native and invasive,” Clermont said. “Being able to perform hands-on field work has really been beneficial to what and how I’ve learned.”
When asked about his most challenging tasks, he said, “Some of the Scotch Broom removals, especially in wet weather, became a bit difficult as well as the Spartina removal because of the very dense and rocky ground.”
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. They also contribute to the local community in a variety of ways.
“We feel like most of our work contributes to the communities,” Clermont said. “But in particular we’ve installed many helpful signs, coordinated broom removals, maintained trail systems and many other things that benefit not only these communities but the environment.”
Clermont recently finished his first year of engineering at the University of Victoria and plans to attend the renewable energy program at Camosun College.
As a leading non profit land conservation organization, the nature trust is dedicated to protecting B.C.’s natural diversity of plants and animals through the acquisition and management of critical habitats.
Since 1971 the trust, along with their partners, invested more than $80 million to secure more than 70,000 hectares across British Columbia.