Published July 15, 2022

Yesterday marked the end of the 10th annual Ashland Watershed Youth Training & Employment Program, and four weeks of paid hands-on ecological restoration and learning by 15 high school students from around the Rogue Valley. Leadership from Lomakatsi, Forest Supervisor Merv George and Siskiyou Mountains District Ranger Jen Sanborn of U.S. Forest Service- Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, and Mayor Julie Akins and Councilor Stef Seffinger from City of Ashland Oregon joined participants for a closing ceremony to celebrate a decade of success, sharing words of wisdom and hearing from this year’s participants about their experiences in the program.

Since the program began on June 20, our awesome and hard-working crew members have helped enhance wildland habitat and reduce wildfire risk in both The Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project (AFR) and the West Bear All-Lands Restoration Project, as well as other locations on federal, city, and private lands around the Rogue Valley. They engaged with 19 natural resource professionals from partner agencies and non-profits, and 15 of Lomakatsi staff and restoration experts, learning about the incredible biodiversity of local ecosystems and related career pathways.

This week they pulled invasive scotch broom on Ashland Parks & Recreation lands, visited White Oak Farms (WOF) to pile slash from fuels reduction, and braved steep terrain to dig a containment line for a future AFR prescribed burn. They learned about sustainability with WOF Executive Director Taylor Starr and about US Forest Service recreation and multiple-use objectives with Chamise Kramer, Public Affairs Specialist with the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

Lomakatsi extends our deep appreciation to the crew members and leaders, our boots on the ground; the many guest presenters, who shared their time, expertise, and insights; the behind-the-scene staff, who supported administrative aspects of the program; and our committed and generous funders, U.S. Forest Service- Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, City of Ashland Oregon, National Forest Foundation, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Community Foundation‘s BottleDrop Fund, and Gray Family Foundation.

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