Throughout the summer, young people have put their education to work while being a part of the Vancouver Island Conservation Youth Crew, thanks to The Nature Trust of BC 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, Vancouver Island HSBC Conservation Youth 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 of British Columbia 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 attending 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,” said Harper. “The turtles are important there, especially the native Western Painted Turtles, and people love seeing them.
“I have learned a lot about the large number of conservation areas The Nature Trust is responsible for, and how much work needs to go into preserving these lands and keeping them as natural as possible. I think it is really important that these areas always exist, and The Nature Trust of BC does a good job at that,” added Harper.
In 2016, HSBC Conservation Youth Crews are operating on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, South Okanagan, and East Kootenay.
This year The Nature Trust of British Columbia is celebrating 45 years of land conservation. The organization is dedicated to protecting B.C.’s natural diversity of plants and animals through the acquisition and management of critical habitats. Since 1971 The Nature Trust, along with its partners, has invested more than $80 million to secure over 71,000 hectares (175,000 acres) across British Columbia.