Hands-on conservation

While other young people have been relaxing, the Nature Trust of BC's Okanagan Conservation Youth Crew has been hard at work. 

Members have been working on conservation projects in the South Okanagan, East Kootenays, on Vancouver Island, and the Lower Mainland.

Crews have been performing on-the-ground work as well as attending workshops from specialists in fields such as bird counts, and forest and wetland ecology. 

The Nature Trust hires young people each summer to tackle a wide variety of activities, including posting signs on hiking trails informing visitors of the surrounding habitat, digging burrows for the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society and acting as ambassadors.

“Helping sustain and monitor the rich diversity of plants and animals and their habitats ... (helps) me to utilize my education,” said crew member Chantel Beierle of Penticton.

The program also offers valuable skills for future employment, including first aid and bear-aware training, as well as the safe handling of power tools.

“I learned the extent of the Nature Trust’s conservation efforts ... (in) the South Okanagan. I hadn’t realized just how much land was either owned or leased by the Nature Trust in the Okanagan,” said crew member Kieran Braid of Summerland.

Beierle will attend UBC Okanagan in the fall for her final year in a bachelor of science program with a specialization in zoology. Braid will be heading back to BCIT for his final year in the fish, wildlife, and recreation program.

Since 1971, the Nature Trust has invested more than $95 million to secure over 71,000 hectares across the province.

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