Youth and Ecological Restoration
YER provides youth aged twelve to eighteen with one-on-one work experience through ecological restoration methods, ecotherapy practices and mentoring support.
BC Ministry of Children and Family Development has funded YER since 2004.
Through restoring local watersheds with community members,
youth gain a sense of worth, belonging and place.
BUILDING HEALTHY COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS
Cooperation, Support and Compassion; Positive Role Models and Mentoring; Increased Community Capacity and Caring.
“This program helped me to be a citizen, helped me to work with the community. It was a good experience for me. I loved helping the community and it’s something I’ll never forget. I hope I can give the knowledge to other people.”
GAINING VALUED WORK EXPERIENCE
Data Collection Methods; Working with Tools; Worksite Safety; Job Variety; Good Work Ethics.
“Skills and experience I gained that I can add to my job resume are: teamwork, communication skills, knowing that I will do the best I can no matter how hard it is going to be and not giving up.”
IMPROVING ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE
Ecosystem Cycles and Interconnections; Identification Techniques for Plants, Animals and Fish; Understanding Environmental Impacts
“Trees depend on the fish and the fish depend on the trees. It’s all a circle, an ecosystem. Fish help the trees with nutrients, the trees grow big and it helps the fish because they give them shade and it keeps the water from heating up.”
INCREASING PERSONAL AND SOCIAL SKILLS
Meaningful Participation and Empowerment; Commitment, Respect and Responsibility; Patience and Endurance; Accomplishment, Self-confidence and Success
“I found this experience rewarding in the sense that I feel I have been helpful and gained confidence and also can do anything I set my mind to. I feel like a leader in my community.”
Public Speaking and Leadership; Active Listening and Engagement; Interpersonal Relationships.
“I think that it is something you feel good about because you are giving back to your community. The presentation gives you confidence because when a group of people respond in a positive way it gives you courage and confidence.”
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.