Cranbrook, 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.  “Having a job in my field of studies meant that I could gain experience and learn valuable skills while living in a beautiful part of the province,” says Emily Markhom, Kootenay crew member.

The Nature Trust of British Columbia hires young people each summer to tackle 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. “I’ve learned that The Nature Trust of BC is focused on preserving nature for future generations to enjoy for both wildlife and humans, while collaborating with other local organizations to create management plans that are focused on biodiversity,” explains Emily.

Photo Left: Emily and fellow crew member monitor plants and trees on The Nature Trust’s Big Ranch property | Photo Right: Emily and another crew member install a sign at The Nature Trust’s Gold Creek property

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. “My favourite activity has been learning about the variety of management techniques that are used on the conservation properties,” says Emily.

When asked about the most challenging thing she’s had to do on the crew, Emily explains, “Planting 2,000 sedges on a day when it was 35 degrees.”

The crews also contribute to the local community in a variety of ways. “We recently participated in a purple loosestrife pull involving the local invasive plant society. This involved a day of canoeing through wetlands in order to get to different loosestrife sites. There were three volunteers and two other organizations participating.”

 When asked about future plans, she says, “In September I am returning to Selkirk College for my second year of the Recreation, Fish, and Wildlife program, with hopes of continuing on to get a degree in fish and wildlife at the University of Northern BC.”

In 2018, Conservation Youth Crews are operating on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, Okanagan, and 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, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program, Great-West Life, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and The Tony Cartledge Fund to help fund the crews.