News and Events at YER

Since 2004 YER has provided youth aged twelve to eighteen with one-on-one work experience through ecological restoration methods, ecotherapy practices and mentoring support.

YER is funded by Ministry of Children and Family Development, Comox Valley Regional District and Comox Valley School District.

Through restoring local watersheds with community members, youth gain a sense of worth, belonging and place.

Photo by Ed Carswell.

Masters Greenway Youth Led Tour

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 Headwaters Youth and Ecological Restoration Phase II Project

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.

Comox Valley Project Watershed Society Restoration and Reconnection 2022 Video

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.

Clayoquot Biosphere Trust – UNESCO Biosphere Region – Project Research Highlights 2022

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.

Clayoquot Biosphere Trust – UNESCO Biosphere Region – Project Research Highlights 2022

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.

Second Shamanistic Gathering and Conference In Finland from August 11 to 14, 2022

“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.

Wendy Kotilla – Founder

Wendy Kotilla created YER in 2004 based on her own youth experiences of being 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 thirty years in Ecological Restoration and Restorative Justice. She received the UVic 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award for the YER program.

Elders Guiding Youth

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.”

Goose Spit Park Yellow Sand-verbena Inventory 2021

The ecological inventory project was completed in CVRD’s Goose Spit Park during 2021. The work was done by youth participants of the Youth and Ecological Restoration (YER) Program , YER program leader (Wendy Kotilla), and a biologist.

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