“The more I learn about conservation, the more I want to be a part of the movement.”Cindy Lu, Wetlands Workforce Assistant
The Wetlands Workforce project supports approximately 104 job positions, emphasising hiring women, young adults, and Indigenous persons. The project started with four key Wetland Workforce stewards brought on after completing their internship with the B.C. Wildlife Federation, through the Canadian Conservation Corps (CCC) Program.
The Canadian Conservation Corps Program
The CCC program is developed by the Canadian Wildlife Federation. The program is supported through funding from the federal government’s Canada Service Corps initiative. The goal of this 9-month program is to engage young Canadians, ages 18–30, to learn, grow and experience the Canadian outdoors. In addition, the program aims to build the interns’ skills and capacity to create and conduct conservation projects in their home communities.
In total, CCC participants have given over 170,000 volunteer hours to program partners and conservation projects across Canada.
Our Wetland Stewards
Last year, the B.C. Wildlife Federation welcomed Caleigh Lehan, Cindy Lu, Jesse Clinock, and Kendall McLaughlin to their team.
Caleigh started her placement at the beginning of the summer with the BCWF Youth Programs. She later joined the Wetlands Education Program (WEP) as a full-time staff member to work on a wildlife monitoring project. Cindy interned with BCWF from September to November and joined the Wetlands team as a full-time staff member following her internship. Jesse and Kendall started their placement at the beginning of November. During their internship, this group provided support on several projects and initiatives.
Caleigh developed content on communication, leadership skills and wildlife identification for the junior CORE hunting course. She also helped run the Youth Programs’ Wild Kidz summer camps. As a Wetlands Project Assistant, Caleigh continued her work with wildlife. By reviewing field camera photos and audio recordings, Caleigh worked on identifying a list of wildlife that are utilizing wetlands from a major restoration project in the Creston Valley.
Cindy worked in the hospitality industry before COVID-19. She decided to join the CCC Program to connect with nature and build on the skills she learned while completing her B.A. in Environment. Towards the end of her internship with WEP, Cindy became a core member of the team delivering online workshops and webinars. She also managed the program’s social media account, helped with conservation initiatives, and in-person restoration events.
The Situation Room
Jesse, Kendall and Cindy also worked together to design a virtual youth outreach and education program called The Situation Room. Through games and interactive storytelling, the program aims to get kids excited and engaged in learning about wetlands.
Alongside creating The Situation Room, Jesse and Kendall are two passionate individuals looking to get their hands dirty and make a change.
Kendall reflects that the program is not about your knowledge, but about the interest that you bring,
“[The CCC Program] doesn’t require any experience in the field, they just look for people who are passionate and curious about conservation.”
The four CCC interns gained a lot of experience working with both WEP and the Youth Program. They were all recruited from their previous roles to assist in the launch of the Wetlands Workforce project, where their passions have continued to grow. Our first wetland stewards: Caleigh, Cindy, Jesse, and Kendall, have been an integral part of creating a secure foundation for this program. Their hard work will continue to stand out throughout the year.
–With files from Molly Dube, BCWF Wetlands Program Assistant