The Youth and Ecological Restoration Program helps vulnerable youth build healthy community relationships with both the human and natural worlds.
Through restoring local watersheds with community members, youth gain a sense of worth, belonging and place.
YER provides youth aged twelve to nineteen with one-on-one work experience, training and support. Through ecological restoration work youth learn social, communication and community building skills that will support them in becoming confident, respectful and productive members of our society.
Wendy Kotilla created YER based on experiences from her own youth when she was constantly outdoors, surrounded by the healing powers of nature. She has a Restoration of Natural Systems Diploma from University of Victoria, and Negotiation and Mediation Certificates from the Justice Institute of BC. Her experience includes over twenty years in the fields of both Ecological Restoration and Restorative Justice.
Planting native trees and shrubs in local watersheds provides habitat and protection for fish, birds and many other species.
Every spring juvenile salmon migrate down our rivers to live in the ocean and return to spawn in the place they were born.
“This experience slowed me down, which resulted in it being easier for me to confront myself and begin to fix my personal problems. I think today’s youth need support, not answers, and daily doses of river water, forest floor, huckleberries and sunshine.”