What can a young adult do to make a difference in cimate change?
Wildsight will be providing an opportunity this summer and fall. The environmental group is seeking up to eight young adults in the Kimberley/Cranbrook area interested in tackling unique local projects that address the global climate crisis and support local community priorities.
From July to October 2021, crew members on the Youth Climate Corps (YCC) will earn wages and receive training in leadership, teamwork, and communication, as well as practical skills and certifications for climate-related fields such forestry, food, energy, ecology, and more. No prior experience is required. YCC successfully launched its first crew in Nelson last fall.
On this team, you will be part of an innovative project to reduce the risk of wildfires near residential neighbourhoods. Different areas of forest on Kimberley-Cranbrook’s wild-and-urban interface have been treated by wildfire professionals at various times over the last fifteen years. This usually involves clearing away accumulated ground fuels and carefully thinning out trees to minimize wildfire risk. But treatments only last so long before vegetation regrows and the hazard starts to increase again.
Wildland fire ecologist and YCC advisor Robert W. Gray says that, while the value of fuel treatment is clear, we don’t have much data on how forests are responding to these treatments over time. Understanding the impact of human interventions is essential for land managers to make efficient, economical, and effective decisions to manage wildfire risk, especially in a destabilizing climate.
The YCC aims to sample 300 plots around the area representing a total of 1,000 hectares of forest land. These plots will produce a comprehensive picture of recent fuel treatments and help set our communities up to improve wildfire resilience in years to come. As B.C. does not have an ongoing mechanism to support this kind of wildfire research, the work that YCC crew members do here may be unique across the province and help spur new innovation elsewhere.
Other YCC projects in Kimberley-Cranbrook are under development and are expected to focus on enhancing food security and sustainability, efficient energy use, and ecosystem restoration. In addition to their physical projects, Crew members will seek to engage community leaders and residents in thinking about how to prepare our communities for a resilient future, while contributing to global efforts to halt and reverse climate change as urgently as
possible. For many of last year’s West Kootenay crew members, the connections they made during the program become invaluable for them take the next step in their careers:
“It was truly a unique program that involved physical work, networking with local professionals, and a space for developing skills to help tackle the climate crisis,” describes Kim Molyneaux, who now works in forestry.
On the other side of the Purcells, this year’s West Kootenay YCC season is expected to begin in August. Wildsight is thrilled to be bringing the YCC to a second community and will continue working to launch crews in more locations across the Columbia Basin.
For more information and to apply, visit wildsight.ca/youth-climate-corps. Applications are due by June 19th.