Watershed Restoration & Conservation Eco-Action Project Engaging Youth

CONSERVING AND PROTECTING WATER FOR A CLIMATE RESILIENT FUTURE


Our Project

The Estuary Nature Centre’s 26-month “Conserving & Protecting Cowichan Fresh Water for a Climate Resilient Future” Project aims to produce measurable results in conserving and protecting the Cowichan and Koksilah Watersheds and the salmon, other wildlife, as well as the human communities, including the Quw’ut’sun, who rely on them. We aim to effectively engage our local community, especially young people across cultures, in leadership and team-building training, workshops, community awareness-raising and effective hands-on water conservation and restoration projects – projects that restore riparian zones and shorelines while honouring indigenous knowledge and building skills to make a real and sustainable impact both in our watersheds and in the lives of young people.  

We are grateful to Environment and Climate Change Canada for providing primary funding for this project, and to all our community partners who have provided encouragement, as well as in-kind or matching funds to support this work.

We paused our hands-on restoration work in March 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions and are now making plans and developing protocols to re-engage in ways that ensure the safety of all participants, the community and our staff and meet the guidelines from the BC Ministry of Health, Cowichan Tribes, and the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

Connect 

By actively engaging youth and volunteers of all ages in watershed restoration, including riparian restoration and invasive species removal, we intend to not only help increase resilience to our local watersheds, but also to offer participants the opportunity to reconnect with themselves, the land and the water. Deep connection is vital to a healthy mind and body.  And knowing where or how to connect is not always simple. Here is a chance to once again reunite with the landscape, reconnect to community and create positive change today.

Take Action

Protecting our freshwater ecosystems, critical salmon habitat and our drinking water in the face of ongoing climate disruption is increasingly challenging – something that requires coming together as a community. Engaging local people, especially youth, in making connections, building skills and strengthening partnerships will amplify the creation of local solutions and help us protect our rivers, or salmon and our community into the future.

There are whole range of ways to get involved, including youth leadership programs, workshops like “Whole Watershed Thinking”, soon to be rescheduled for late spring / early summer, and restoration education and action days for youth, families, school groups, clubs, business teams and non-profit volunteers. Due to Corona virus health advisories, our 2-day Spring Break Restoration Camp on the Cowichan River  scheduled for March will also be rescheduled for late spring / early summer. We’ll have more specifics about other 2020 workshops and events posted here soon – or just reach out and give us a call or send an email to our project assistant sierra@cowichanestuary.ca

We invite you to rise up, learn new skills and have fun while making a difference!. The skills you learn at our workshops or participating in restoration work are transferable in many ways – from growing plants to growing food to conserving water. Nature is all around us and within us – we just need to pause and pay attention. 

Our Goals:

1) To Conserve, Restore and Protect Watershed Resilience in the Cowichan & Koksilah Watersheds; 

2) To Raise Community Water Conservation Awareness & Increase Our Water Conservation Literacy & Action;  and

3) To Engage and Empower Indigenous and Settler Youth as Watershed and Climate Stewards and Leaders. 

Our project team at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre is committed to increasing community engagement and cohesion through a range of local restoration and conservation projects that protect local fish habitat, drinking water and our watersheds and buffer against climate impacts. while offering opportunities to revive our connection with the landscape and dig into new possibilities.

Our hard targets for the 26 months between May 2019 and July 2021 are: 

Reduction of water consumption = 100,000 liters
Area of shoreline protected, stabilized or improved = .05 hectares
Area of habitat in which management or restoration actions have been implemented through project activities = .45 hectares
Amount of indigenous plants, trees and shrubs planted = 1,000 plants/trees/shrubs 
Percentage of indigenous plants, trees and shrubs planted that survived = 80% of plants/trees/shrubs

And we are making good progress.  From old to young, from novice to expert, join us in caring for our local ecosystems and habitat – the water, the land, the plants and the many species that both sustain and rely upon it.

 

Projects on the go

Spring Break Restoration Camp

World Planting Day

Whole Watershed Thinking Workshop

 

Join us

Can you help us? Do you have a desire to connect and contribute? Join us to restore much needed habitat in the magnificent Cowichan Watershed! We offer programs for school groups, individuals and public restoration days! 

For more information please email: sierra@cowichanestuary.ca 

Stay tuned here and on our social media pages for upcoming events.

 

 

Thank you to our additional partners and sponsor!

Cowichan Tribes, the Cowichan Watershed Board, the Cowichan Community Land Trust, the BC Conservation Foundation,  the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society, the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, including Areas D and E, the Municipality of North Cowichan,  the Cowichan Valley Naturalists, the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society,  the Outdoor Education Society – Story Trails, Sh-hwuykwselu Busy Place Streamkeepers, BC Nature Trust, SeaChange Marine Conservation Society, the Earth Guardians – Cowichan Valley, School District 79, Polster Environmental Services

 

 

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