Nanaimo, 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 was interested in the diverse tasks that the job entailed and gaining hands-on skills out in the field. I was also excited to work as part of a three-person crew and learn from my co-workers,” says Vancouver Island crew member Kalia Van Osch.
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. “I learned that The Nature Trust is such a diverse organization and connects with a variety of agencies and volunteer groups,” explains Kalia.
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 was installing wildlife cameras on one of our north island properties. We recorded images of a broad range of species including black bears, elk, deer, and grouse and this really reinforced the importance of the restoration work on the property.”
When asked about the most challenging task during the summer, Kalia says, “Installing field equipment in the estuaries for sediment level monitoring was definitely the most difficult task. Hiking in an estuary in waders in the hot sun is not comfortable but gives you a reality check that often you have to do hard work to get the valuable data that you need! “
The crews also contribute to the local community in a variety of ways. “The biggest community project we have been a part of is watering a restoration area in the Englishman River Estuary. The fill from a dyke was moved and planted with native species by volunteers in 2017. Our job has been to water and protect the plants from browsing by wildlife during the hot summer. The local users of the estuary have been super supportive and excited to see the plants growing. I look forward to watching the area as it matures in the future.”
When asked about future plans, Kalia indicated she will be returning to university to complete the last year of her Bachelor of Natural Resource Protection. She hopes to pursue a career in consulting or conservation.
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, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Great-West Life, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and The Tony Cartledge Fund to help fund the crews.