Youth stewardship program wrapping up for summer

  • Aug. 18, 2014 7:00 p.m.

Eight islands youth spent their summer surveying razor clams, removing fish fences and deer enclosures, maintaining trails, and more, with the Haida Gwaii Youth Stewardship Program, which wrapped up Thursday (August 14).”What I heard a lot from the crew was that it gave them a purpose for their summer. It let them try a lot of things they’d never done before. It surprises them. They like things they never thought they would. Or, it shatters stereotypes about different things on Haida Gwaii,” said Anna Tobiasz, HGYSP north end coordinator.Alyssa Stapleton, the south end coordinator, added, “They gained a lot of different skills from the job, but they also gained an appreciation for and support from their peers. It filled a deeper, societal need. They experienced a connection to place, to Haida Gwaii, and got to see a lot of different parts of the islands.”Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources Operations has been running the Youth Stewardship Program, formerly called the Junior Rangers Program, for ten years. It engages students between grades eight and twelve through work in areas of natural resource stewardship specific to Haida Gwaii.Eight students – four from each end – connect with and work in various islands communities, providing a valuable service to the businesses and organizations they assist.Danny Robertson’s company Highlander Marine worked with the groups to conduct tsunami debris cleanup and camp disassembly in Gwaii Haanas en route to Skang Gwaay.”They were wonderful, energizing, curious and helpful. They weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty,” he said, “Sometimes the work isn’t so glamorous, like taking apart an old outhouse. But, they were up for it all. Our future looks bright!”Mr. Robertson said he thinks it’s really important for young islanders to get interested and involved in natural resources management on Haida Gwaii.”It’s a lot easier to make the right decisions for the lands and the waters when you live and breathe them,” he said, “It’s really encouraging to see the program supporting opportunities for youth to see what’s involved in managing natural resources. It’s something that’s in all of our lives every day.”The paid positions bring awareness to and sometimes create a desire in islands youth to pursue careers in natural resources on Haida Gwaii, said Ms Tobiasz.”We call it the ‘earn, learn, return’ model,” said Ms Alyssa Stapleton.In addition to Highlander Marine and Gwaii Haanas, organizations and businesses such as FLNRO, the Council of the Haida Nation, Haida Fisheries, Taan Forest, BC Parks, the Tlell Watershed Society, North Pacific Kelp, the Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary, Misty Isles Economic Development Society, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, BC Timber Sales, and the Northwest Invasive Plant Council, played important roles in exposing Youth Stewardship participants to resource management.Some highlights from the program’s six weeks of employment, said Ms Stapleton and Ms Tobiasz, include delivering mail for the Haida Watchmen, early morning razor clam surveying on North Beach, deer enclosure removal from the Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary and Yakoun Lake, fish fence removal from Copper Bay and the Tlell River, trail maintenance with BC Parks, a forestry and silviculture tour, and overnight trips spent at Cape Fife and Moresby Camp.”The third day was quite exciting, our crew travelled to Copper Bay to remove a fish fence. It was originally supposed to take up most of the day, but ended up taking about two hours. Talk about a strong crew,” Teanna Russ wrote on the MIEDS ‘Your Stories’ website, “Our fifth and final day of (the first) week was quite the adventure, we met some of the members from Taan forestry! It was so exciting, we talked about all different kinds of soils, and how plants are effected by the human introduced deer. I personally learned a lot that day. All in all it was a very educational week.”Twenty-three high school students applied and were interviewed for the stewardship positions, of which only eight positions exist.”Judging by the number of applicants we had this year, there’s a definite need for more opportunities like this for youth on the islands,” Ms Stapleton said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

BC Ferries Sailing Cancellations

Prince Rupert - Haida Gwaii - Northern Adventure

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Horgan blasts B.C. Greens for refusing youth overdose detention

Lack of support key to B.C. election call, NDP leader says

Most Read