YER – New Documentary Film

Mar 13, 2019 | News and Events | 0 comments

Ecology Transforms Youth

2019 Documentary Film 35 min.

Journey with several youth as they explore Comox Valley watersheds and ecosystems. The Youth & Ecological Restoration (YER) program was created by Wendy Kotilla in 2004. Guided by nature, YER engages vulnerable youth with the ecology of their home place through restoration, science, ecotherapy and mentoring. Over 340 participants have worked with local researchers and environmental groups.

Quotes from Participants

I like doing things with other people around me because it feels like I’m contributing to something that will lead to a bigger thing in the future.

~ Brayden

When I’m outside in nature, interacting and helping out, that kind of stuff is what I’m learning how to do right now. 

~ Jack

If you take a moment to watch nature, you just sit there and watch for some time, you’ll begin to understand it better.

~ Jose

It’s calm, you can sit out there and look at things and you can be peaceful.  If you have a lot of stress, you can let it go. 

~ Heidi

It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, well in person, and not through a video or something. 

~ Leland

I’ve learned about fish and trees and how everything ties together in nature. You’re actually there in the moment learning about what you are seeing and feeling. 

~ Doreen

Wendy Kotilla

Wendy Kotilla

Founder and Director of YER

Wendy Kotilla created YER based on her own youth experiences of being constantly outdoors surrounded by nature. She has a Restoration of Natural Systems Diploma from University of Victoria (UVic), and Mediation and Negotiation 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.

Ed Carswell

Ed Carswell


Ed Carswell has been directing educational films for almost 30 years. Since graduating with a B.F.A. from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Ed has won several awards for his creative and interpretive approaches. Ed has traveled extensively in developing countries and holds a deep commitment to issues surrounding biological and cultural diversity.


Film Funders

The film was funded by the following community groups and individuals: Oyster River Enhancement Society; City of Courtenay; 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.