Youth Corps kids show off the flying squirrel nesting boxes they built. We’ll monitor the boxes with wildlife cameras to see who takes up residence!
Five high school students spent their spring break with us, learning career skills in the field. They learned, hands-on, about land stewardship in a stint as the Land Trust Youth Corps crew.
We interwove lessons on topics like forest health, beaver ecology, and seed dispersal with work experience. The Youth Corps’ workdays were devoted to various jobs on the land, like digging weeds and building flying squirrel nesting boxes (pictured).
Land Trusts are a community promise to take care of the land around us – both now, and for the generations to come. So, to make good on the promise of “forever,” it’s crucial that we foster a love of the land, and the skills to steward it, in the younger generation.
Particularly now, in the digital age, young people are less and less connected to the natural world around them. There are mountains of research and reporting on this topic. (For instance here and here, just for starters.) If kids don’t have meaningful experiences that connect them to the land by their early teens, they may never have them. So it’s crucial to start early to help people develop comfort in the outdoors and an appreciation of nature.
Grass-roots, community conservation is for everyone. It takes a whole village to care for the land around us. Conservation and stewardship of our natural resources isn’t a luxury – rather, it’s necessary for our very survival. So the Youth Corps program was designed with an eye to inclusivity. In order to offer this opportunity broadly, we provided transportation and a stipend to ensure we could include students without access to personal transportation, or with economic needs that can put unpaid positions out of reach.
The Youth Corps program was created thanks to a generous donation from the students at Bet Shira Hebrew School These kids “paid it forward” with a big fundraising effort after they were inspired by their experience on the land with us. Their generosity inspired even more seed-gifts from local friends.We hope the cycle continues, and that our Youth Corps students will make land stewardship a part of their lives. Let’s keep this work – and our planet – alive!