Young people put their education to work and made a difference, thanks to The Nature Trust of B.C.’s Vancouver Island Conservation Youth Crew and program supporter HSBC Bank Canada.
“I first became interested in the crew position when I saw a presentation at Vancouver Island University last September from a former participant,” said Jaylene Harper, crew member. “It sounded like a lot of fun and I was immediately interested in being on the crew this summer in order to gain experience in the conservation world.”
The Nature Trust hires young people 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.
“My favourite activity was a helicopter trip up Green Mountain, which is an important area for Vancouver Island marmots. It was my first time in a helicopter which was very exciting, and we got to help restore marmot habitat in hopes of increasing their population,” said Harper. “Learning to identify certain plants, especially differentiating grasses, was one of the most difficult things we had to do.”
The crews perform on-the-ground work as well as attend 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 worked on restoring turtle habitat and nesting areas at Buttertubs Marsh in Nanaimo,” Harper said.
Her future plans include attending VIU in September to continue her studies in natural resource protection.
This year The Nature Trust is dedicated to protecting B.C.’s natural diversity. Since 1971, the Nature Trust along with its partners has invested more than $80 million to secure more than 71,000 hectares across B.C.