We welcomed our third community to the Wildsight Youth Climate Corps (YCC) roster this year with the launch of a season in Golden. But what exactly does a season look like? We’re glad you asked.
Each community’s YCC program looks a little different. That’s because we tailor seasons to local needs, wants, and existing programs. Project partners vary from community to community and we work alongside multiple organizations to achieve locally-desired aims. In Golden, we have developed incredible partnerships with local farms, food sustainability champions, and the Town of Golden.
This crew has worked on the full cycle of food security from farm to plate. They have tackled invasive species, picked produce, manned markets and provided much-needed labour for local organizations doing great work on sustainability and climate resilience. Through these tangible projects, crew members have found a sense of hope and purpose.
“Being able to work with our hands and see the change that we’re helping make on landscapes and in the community has had such a profound and inspiring effect,” reflects crew member Daniel Rasbash. “It makes you believe that this is a fight worth fighting, and that with a small crew of committed people in a community, anything is possible.”
Golden crew member Marie Chevalot agrees that it’s been uplifting: “YCC has been a way for me to get involved in my community, and has been a wonderful illustration that climate action is accessible, necessary, and can easily have a valuable positive impact on the people who are most at risk of climate change effects.”
Golden’s team worked closely with Local Food Matters, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building and promoting a thriving local food culture in the community. With their support, the crew ran a stall at the weekly summer farmer’s market. The stand acted as a growers’ collective and provides a platform for smaller backyard growers to sell their vegetables. Larger growers also use the stall to sell their excess produce so it doesn’t go to waste.
For five weeks, crew members connected with community members and spread the message about food waste reduction. It was awesome, and our team loved passing on information about the local food efforts underway.
“Everyone who we told about the collective was thrilled at the idea that they and their neighbours could be part of this system. You could really feel that this was having a positive impact on the community,” says Daniel.
While two crew members were at the farmer’s market, the rest spent time gleaning apple trees and helping at the food bank. Locals could register their apple trees with Local Food Matters and our crew helped pick the apples. This initiative not only reduced wildlife attractants but also stopped the produce from being wasted. Apples were sold by donation at the market stand or turned into juice using the food bank’s apple press. The small but enthusiastic team picked more than 800 lbs of apples, (the same weight as an adult male grizzly bear!).
The Golden Food Bank can always use a helping hand and the YCC crew did what they could to support this vital service. Crew members stocked shelves, prepared and portioned ‘recipe of the week’ bags, harvested from the food bank garden, composted, cleaned, and even set up for various events.
At Goonieland Permaculture Farm the team camped onsite and spent time watering and pruning crops; learning about lacto-fermentation and canning and helping to build ‘hempcrete’ bricks for earthship houses. They cleaned out flammable undergrowth surrounding the farm to reduce wildfire risk and even learnt to build a wood-fired pizza oven with traditional materials (hemcrete and hob)!
At Kapristo’s Farm they harvested vegetables and planted seeds for next year’s crops as well as winter vegetables. The team got to weed, prepare beds, build chicken coops and — maybe a favourite for everyone — help with the farm animals.
Burdocks, beavers and branches
Worth noting was a small project the team did to remove burdock (an invasive plant) from bighorn sheep habitat. Seeing the physical impacts from this effort was rewarding.
“We spent one very hot, dusty and difficult week pulling burdock. The burrs got everywhere, leaving our skin itchy and our hair tangled,” Daniel says. “I have to admit, morale was pretty low at times. But then we would turn around and see the impact of what we had done!”
The crew also spent time with local biologist Annette Lutterman to learn about beaver habitat in and around the region while assessing potential future projects.
Marie says, “Even without backgrounds in environmental sciences, we were able to contribute to this great project and learned so much from the biologist who organized it.”
Wildfire risk reduction
The Golden crew is now working on a wildfire risk reduction project right in town. Supported by the Town of Golden, they are spending two months clearing flammable undergrowth to reduce wildfire risk in town. Follow the YCC Instagram page to see more on this project as it progresses.