Northern Fraser Youth Capacity Building for Watershed Governance Initiative

The project was designed to build the capacity of youth from communities in the Northern Fraser region to participate and take a leadership role in raising the profile of salmon and watershed sustainability. The project engaged more than sixty youth in total, the majority aged sixteen to twenty-four, in addition to several younger children and many adults and elders from across the Northern Fraser region. Six youth were engaged in the project planning and design, twenty-eight youth attended a day long regional dialogue on salmon sustainability, fifteen youth participated in a regional watershed mentorship program, and fifteen youth participated in community awareness and storm drain painting event in Prince George. Many additional youth were made aware of the initiatives and its outcomes through media coverage, peer dialogue and youth-authored blogging of experiences in the mentorship program.

Partnerships with eight stewardship groups, three First Nations groups, and one local government were established or enhanced, and the majority of organizations participating in the dialogue and mentoring program indicate a willingness to continue to develop the relationships built with youth during the initiative. Many stewardship organizations were able to further and complete much-needed projects with the assistance of youth volunteer hours.

Several youth played a direct role in the governance of stewardship organizations and their keystone projects by participating in steering committees and board of directors meetings. Almost all youth participating in the mentoring program reported gaining valuable experiences, and the opportunity to connect with like-minded peers from across the region and the province in an open and supportive environment proved the most valuable for many.

Finally, the critically low levels of youth awareness and engagement in salmon and watershed health issues in the region were improved. By meeting youth where they were at, the program effectively inspired youth to think critically about the effects of their own actions on the watershed and the ways they can lead and inspire change to make their communities more sustainable.