In 2019 Youth & Ecological Restoration (YER) produced a tribute to the decade of work that has led to more than 360 youth participants reconnecting with nature.

The YER film “Ecology Transforms Youth” was shown at the World Community Film Festival on February 2nd.  Created by filmmaker Ed Carswell (, it follows eight youth as they explore the rivers and estuaries of the Comox Valley.

The film was funded by the following community groups and individuals: Oyster River Enhancement Society; Courtenay & District Fish and Game Protective Association; Comox Valley Community Justice Centre; Tsolum River Restoration Society; Paul Horgen; Jane Gilcrest; Millard Piercy Watershed Stewards; Stewart McIntosh; Individual Contributions; Barbara and Gwyneth Huhn; and Cummings Home.

YER was created in 2004 to help youth build healthy community relationships with the human and natural worlds.  Youth restore local watersheds with community members to gain a sense of worth, belonging and place. They are engaged with one-on-one work experience through ecological restoration methods, ecotherapy practices and mentoring support. BC Ministry of Children and Family Development funds YER.

When YER was created fifteen years ago it was impossible to envision its longevity and success.  It came from a dream to involve youth with ecology of place and help them to believe in themselves.

Wendy Kotilla

Youth and Ecological Restoration Program