Elders Guiding Youth

YER article for the Oyster River Enhancement Society Newsletter

Oyster River Enhancement Society (ORES) has been a dedicated supporter of Youth and Ecological Restoration (YER) since the program began in 2004. Youth #6 was the first to come and help ORES volunteers with restoring salmon stocks to the river. In 2005, Youth #20 said that “ORES is a birthplace that brings life to the world. It is a place for fish to mate and we can help them.”

From 2004 to 2021, nearly four hundred youth have come to learn about the wonders of nature and how a group of volunteers working together can make changes.  The ORES story is one of hope for recovery of this beautiful river and its salmon.  That knowledge is transferred as the youth witness the compassion, devotion and coherence that exists between the volunteers.

The youth dipnet salmon and you gently teach them the right way to do this, as captured by Youth #398 “The people at the Oyster River fish hatchery were really kind, nice, and fun.  They were very easy to work with and very encouraging when I was trying to net the coho, they were always like “you’ll get it next time” or “there’s more in there keep trying.”  It made me feel good, accomplished, and excited.  I felt accomplished because when I have done something I feel accomplished, and when someone notices it makes me feel good.” 

ORES volunteers are like a grandpa or an elder that some of these young people have never had.  They learn that people can be kind, patient and willing to help them.  They learn that rivers and salmon are worthy of love and protection.  A special and respectful relationship has developed between ORES and YER over the past seventeen years.  The youth will remember you as their guides, elders and teachers.