Ashland Watershed Youth and Employment Program, Summer 2014
Through a competitive application and interview process, 20 juniors and seniors from Medford, Phoenix, and Ashland high schools were selected to participate in the Ashland Watershed Youth Training and Employment Program. During the first day of the program, Lomakatsi Executive Director Marko Bey led participants on an educational hike to an overlook of Ashland and the Watershed.
As part of the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project, the Ashland Watershed Youth Training and Employment Program utilized the Ashland Watershed as an outdoor laboratory. Collaborative partners include the US Forest Service, City of Ashland, Lomakatsi Restoration Project, The Nature Conservancy, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Youth interns and Lomakatsi staff are pictured here with City of Ashland Mayor John Stromberg and Don Boucher, AFR Project Manager for the Forest Service.
Under the guidance of Lomakatsi’s professional workforce trainers and environmental educators, students learned about natural resource management as they implemented ecological restoration projects within the Ashland Watershed and adjacent lands. John Cymore, Lomakatsi’s Lead Restoration Technician and Workforce Trainer, is shown here explaining how to properly plant a ponderosa pine.
Stewardship activities implemented by students were coupled with daily presentations by guest natural resource specialists from a variety of partner agencies and non-profit organizations to further student understanding of natural resource management and ecosystem restoration. Here, Kerry Metlen, Forest Ecologist for The Nature Conservancy, discusses local forest dynamics,fire ecology, and monitoring conducted as part of the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project (AFR).
Daily presentations by natural resource specialists also provided insight into various career paths in natural resources. Guest presentations were provided by local specialists from The Nature Conservancy, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, City of Ashland, Klamath Bird Observatory, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the Freshwater Trust. Joni Brazier, Soil Scientist for the US Forest Service, is shown here during her discussion of soil types and local soil protection measures.
From the top of the watershed to the bottom, students gained experience in a wide range of local ecosystems. During the 4-week intensive, participants learned about restoration ecology as they performed riparian restoration along Ashland and Bear Creeks at two of Lomakatsi’s adopted sites.
Students also visited Lomakatsi’s native plant shade house nursery to learn about the native plants Lomakatsi uses in our riparian restoration projects, and perform native species and nursery management led by Niki Del Pizzo, Lomakatsi’s Education Director.
Participants of the Ashland Watershed Youth Training and Employment Program gained experience in a variety of ecosystems. In addition to restoration projects in the Ashland Watershed, students learned about the importance of protecting oak habitats while contributing to oak restoration and riparian enhancement activities in the Colestin Valley led by Dave Johnson, Biologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Ashland Watershed Youth Program provides local youth with positive work experience, while youth build a sense of responsibility, a long-term community service ethic, and a foundation toward future employment in natural resources stewardship. We thank this summer’s participants for their hard work and we look forward to hearing how this program helps shape their future career path!
All photos by Lomakatsi,