In September 2021 the BC Small Wetlands Association were able to start offering a cultural ecological outreach at the park. Youth learned 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 record what thrives and what doesn’t and the reasons why in an online journal. We have been researching Secwepemc culture, land use, the climate and the health of ecosystems historically. Youth help to 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 from the forest garden when the trees and shrubs are a little more mature. They will learn how to make birch baskets and willow dolls. Youth are 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, when this initiative is launched in 2023.
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.