Youth and Ecological Restoration
Helping exceptional 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.
News & Events at YER
K’omoks Estuary holds immense ecological value for resident and migrating wildlife, and is essential for K’omoks First Nation. Since 2013, research during spring low tides was conducted to count eagles and herons feeding in the estuary. On June 9th at 1:00 pm at Royston Seaside Trail, two youth from Youth and Ecological Restoration Program (YER) will lead a public tour about the eagle and heron surveys.
Beginning in the 2021/2022 school year, Youth and Ecological Restoration (YER) was granted funding from Ministry of Education, Mental Health, which came through Comox Valley School District #71. The first year of funding was so successful that YER has been granted funds for the 2022/2023 school year.
Youth and Ecological Restoration Program Annual Report 2022 – Visit the post to view this report.
The public is invited to a youth led tour of Masters Greenway on July 5th at 12:00 pm. Tour participants will learn about the natural history and human impacts on the park. Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) and Youth and Ecological Restoration (YER) have partnered to identify and map sites in the park where overuse and invasive species are causing negative effects. Biologist, Tanis Gower will lead the 2022 YER Phase II research project, guiding the youth and providing a final report for the CVRD.
Millard Creek is located south of the City of Courtenay and extends west into Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD), Area A. Millard Piercy Watershed Stewards formed a watershed management plan in 2001. Wendy Kotilla has lived in the upper watershed since 1990, and in 2008 started what has become a long-term database on her one acre property, and the adjoining ten acres.
YER Founder, Wendy Kotilla, was featured in the 2022 Project Watershed video, Restoration and Reconnection. She was a founding director of PW in 1993. Wendy shared her perspectives on stewardship, and the value of traditional ecological knowledge and western science. Both are valid sources of data required to care for the Earth and other species we share this planet with.
From 1993 to 1998, Wendy Kotilla was involved with Clayoquot Biosphere Project as one of hundreds of people documenting the natural history of the Clayoquot River watershed. She was one of eight researchers highlighted in the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust Storymap. Her work focussed on longitudinal salmon distribution in the river. Due to this collective database, the watershed remains unlogged today.
“ECOLOGY TRANSFORMS YOUTH”
Mielikki Kotilainen (Wendy Kotilla) has been drawn to nature for shamanistic healing and guidance throughout her life in Canada. Since the age of four, she has gone to rivers for solace. Nature rituals include witnessing eagles bathing and listening to ancient forest wisdom. Mielikki has engaged in Native American sweat lodge, bathing and Sundance ceremonies for over twenty years. Her ancestors came from Kivijarvi and Tampere in Central Finland.
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.”