Penticton, BC — Throughout the summer young people are working hard to care for The Nature Trust of BC’s conservation lands as part of our Conservation Youth Crews.  In the Okanagan, crew members Sophia Reimer and Kaylee Lesmeister shared their thoughts about their summer outdoors.

“I was interested in the position so that I could discover new land in the Okanagan where I grew up and have a job connected with my schooling,” says Sophia Reimer.

The Nature Trust of British Columbia hires young people from May to August 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 learned that The Nature Trust has an amazing number of properties. I had seen the signs around the Okanagan for years but I never realized just how much land The Nature Trust owns in the area,” says Kaylee Lesmeister.

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. “I really enjoyed helping out with the research on rattlesnakes at White Lake. I’ve always loved snakes since I was little and this type of research is something that I would be interested in doing in the future,” says Sophia.

When asked about the most difficult part of being on the crew, Kaylee says, “After studying at university for the past eight months, I wasn’t exactly in the greatest physical shape when we started the job in May. During the first month, the many hikes we went on were quite challenging, but I am very happy to be in better shape now.”

The crews contribute to the local community in a variety of ways. “We assisted the local community by helping to protect and maintain natural areas throughout the Okanagan for people to enjoy,” says Kaylee.

When asked about her future plans, Sophia says, “I plan to finish my Bachelors in biology at UBC Okanagan. Then I want to get a job in ecology somewhere in BC.” Kaylee says, “I will be returning to the University of Victoria to continue working towards my biology degree. After that, I might work towards a high school teaching degree. After all my schooling is done, I will work in ecology and conservation for a while (probably somewhere on the coast), and if I ever get tired of being rained on and chased by wolves, I can teach biology in high schools.”

In 2019, 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, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and The Tony Cartledge Fund to help fund the crews.

The Nature Trust of British Columbia is a leader in land conservation in the province. We conserve and care for BC’s most critical natural habitats for vulnerable wildlife and plants. Since 1971 we have protected more than 175,000 acres (71,000 hectares) with our partners.