By: Denisse Ortega Lorona, BRN Education Director
This summer was a success for the Borderlands Earth Care Youth (BECY) program after last year’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As it is our duty to be as safe as possible, this year we limited our participant numbers and took all of the precautions as advised by the CDC, resulting in a very safe, successful and inspiring summer.
The two BECY crews based out of Douglas and Patagonia, including participants from Rio Rico, totaled 16 participants and 4 facilitators that did a wonderful job helping lead the 9th year of this program.
Throughout the summer, the BECY interns worked on a wide variety of restoration projects alongside Borderlands Restoration Network staff and our program partners to repair erosion by building erosion control structures, protect habitat by removing invasive plants, restore a pond, learn about water harvesting, native plants, and planted over 70 trees in Doc Mock Park as well as worked with local ranchers at the Santa Fe Ranch, all while learning valuable skills and developing a deeper understanding of the land and ecosystems of the borderlands region.
After six weeks of hard work the program came to a close on July 15th concluding with a graduation celebration in each community where interns presented each of their individual community restoration projects that are a requirement for successful completion of the program. The interns shared with their family, friends, and the community the hard work and experiences they had and how the program impacted them personally.
Community projects spanned many topics including one intern hosting a successful clothing swap event in Douglas where community members exchanged used clothing for free. One intern also worked alongside the BRN Borderlands Wildlife Preserve Lead Technician learning how to identify wildlife through our wildlife cameras, using this experience to teach other interns about fossils, plants, and animals. Others, focused on food and pollinator gardens in their backyards and community spaces.
Participants sharing their community restoration projects and experiences.
Many interns expressed their desire to follow a career path in conservation, or living more consciously and in a more sustainable way. An impactful moment during the celebration included a youth leader congratulating the parents of a stellar intern, while the intern replied, “The works we do matters in the long run.”
But, don't take our word for it, check out this great video created by one of the interns capturing the BECY experience straight from the participants themselves. We thought this was too great not to share.
Video created by Valeria Cabello, BECY Youth Leader
We are grateful to all the participants, staff and partners that make this program a reality each year touching the lives of over 150 participants since inception making the borderlands more resilient in more ways than one.
To support the BECY program or learn more click here.
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