February 21, 2019 from 7:00 to 9:00
Upper Native Sons Hall
360 Cliffe Avenue, Courtenay

Youth & Ecological Restoration (YER) is celebrating three events on February 21st from 7:00 to 9:00 at the Upper Native Sons Hall.  YER has now been operating in the Comox Valley for fifteen years; the new YER video will be shown; and YER founder Wendy Kotilla has achieved a University of Victoria (UVic) 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award.

YER was created in 2004 to help vulnerable 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.

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.

Wendy Kotilla received a UVic, Restoration of Natural Systems Diploma in 2001.  On February 5th, she was acknowledged at a UVic 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony along with ten other recipients.  This award was in recognition of YER. Wendy will present her award acceptance speech at the event.

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.

Please come and celebrate with YER on February 21st from 7:00 to 9:00 at the Upper Native Sons Hall.  Celebratory cake and coffee will be served. Contact Wendy Kotilla at or 250-336-8487; visit the YER website at

Wendy Kotilla

Youth and Ecological Restoration Program