Vancouver, BC— Throughout the summer young people are working hard to care for conservation lands as part of The Nature Trust of BC Conservation Youth Crews. “I’m studying conservation in university right now and this position was the first job I’ve had in the field, so it was a welcome stepping stone into the kind of work I want to dedicate my life to,” says Lower Mainland crew member Laura Gordon. “I was first interested in the position because of the conservation elements,” adds crew member Devon Naylor.
The Nature Trust of BC hires young people each summer to tackle a variety of activities on conservation lands 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. “The organization is run by passionate and kind people who seek to maintain the ecological integrity of the land they own for the benefit of both people and wildlife,” explains Devon.
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. “We had an amazing opportunity to help with a bat monitoring project in Skagit Valley Provincial Park,” says Laura. “At dusk we sat with clickers and counted all the bats that emerged from bat boxes that had been installed. In total we counted around 2,300 bats in one night. It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.”
When asked about the most challenging task during the summer, both crew members agreed that it was a project on Nature Trust lands at Francis Point. “The most difficult thing I did was building stairs at Francis Point on the Sunshine Coast. We worked with the park ranger to carry buckets of gravel up steep steps to fill in stairs on a trail for the community,” explains Devon.
The crews also contribute to the local community in a variety of ways. “We participated in bear monitoring on The Nature Trust Pitt Addington property in Coquitlam. We went out into the field in a heavily bear populated area to work with cameras which capture pictures of bears. The monitoring is used to estimate the amount of bear activity near trails. The goal of the program is to determine bear activity in order to come up with a management plan that improves the land for both bear and human use,” says Devon.
When asked about future plans, Laura indicated she will be return to the Faculty of Forestry at UBC where she is majoring in natural resource conservation. Devon is in her third year in the same program at UBC.
In 2018, Conservation Youth Crews are operating on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, Okanagan, and the Kootenays. The Nature Trust is pleased to have the support of BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Canada Summer Jobs (Service Canada), Caritate Foundation, Chris Cornborough, Great-West Life, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and The Tony Cartledge Fund to help fund the crews.