During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are able to welcome smaller groups at the wetland park while observing physical distancing.
In September 2021 the BC Small Wetlands Association will develop a cultural ecological outreach online as well as at the park when restrictions are lifted. As much as possible, youth will learn hands on through riparian planting of the wetland buffer zones, monitoring the wetland ponds and keeping journals of the birds, animals, amphibians, insects and native plants. They will record what thrives and what doesn’t and the reasons why in an online journal. For the online outreach we will research culture, land use, the climate and the health of ecosystems historically. Youth will plant native grasses, trees and shrubs, learn how to propagate some of the culturally important native plants and seeds that no longer grow in the area, then share the knowledge online. With guidance from Secwepemc Elders, youth will participate in the fall harvest of fruit and berries and learn how to make birch baskets and willow dolls. Youth will be our wetland ambassadors, answering questions from visitors about the activities at the park. The youth will help to create a variety of promotional materials, including greeting cards, event invitations and bookmarks made from plantable paper embedded with native seeds.
The program focuses on the wellbeing of participants as they celebrate their cultural and natural heritage and we have observed the positive outcomes of offering workshops that teach new skills and build self-esteem. Participants have often commented that attending the program was a calming experience.