Recognizing the contribution of individual youths or youth groups to wildlife or habitat conservation projects
Individuals can do a lot to promote conservation, but in the long run successful programs are the result of efforts by many people. For proof, look no further than the winner of this year’s Youth Conservation Award. It belongs to the 11,000 young people who have participated in the Young Naturalists Club of British Columbia.
Founded in 2000, the club now has chapters all over the province, run by small groups of local volunteers or teachers with support of parents and volunteer naturalists. A centerpiece in the club’s programming is its YNC Explorer Days, in which kids and parents get hands-on experience with local ecosystems.
The club also promotes individual contributions through its Action Awards. These awards are handed out at bronze, silver and gold levels. A gold-level winner will have completed 36 individual projects, including nature study, information sharing and habitat improvement (such as shoreline cleanups or removal of invasive plants), and participated in at least 20 Explorer Days.
The Naturalist Club also contributes to scientific research through its Citizen Science program. Last year, club participants photographed plants where butterflies had been seen feeding, thus contributing to a research project at the University of British Columbia. This year, they’ll be tracking slugs and snails, and sending notes and photos to E-Fauna B.C., a volunteer-driven electronic atlas of provincial wildlife run by UBC.