Full Circle, Alumni Return
The Borderlands Earth Care Youth (BECY) program inspires and trains the next generation of land stewards by hiring youth living in the US/Mexico borderlands to restore the transnational watersheds they call home. BECY provides paid internships for youth, ages 15-18, to learn practical, marketable skills in watershed, ecosystem, and community restoration. Currently there are programs held in Douglas and Patagonia. This year, each crew is comprised of eight youth and two young adult facilitators. This year, all our facilitators are alumni of their local BECY program and are excited to work with this year’s participants.
An alum of Patagonia Montessori and Patagonia Union High Schools, Nick Botz has participated in the BECY Patagonia program as an intern twice in high school and has returned as a facilitator for a second year. Nick has shared, “I still remember how awesome an experience BECY was for me as a first-time student, so now returning as a facilitator is a way to help instill passion and caring for the environment in the next generation. The folks at BRN are all so inspiring and always remind me that it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, we all share this planet and are responsible for its future. That's why BECY is so important. A sustainable future will require a shift in culture, which starts with educating and empowering ordinary people in the community.”
Also facilitating for their second year from Douglas, Dey Victor (they/she) is a proud queer Hispanic conservationist whose passion for nature began through their father’s love and teachings of the unique beauty of Southern Arizona. Dey started working for BRN in 2021 as a first-time BECY intern and then as a facilitator in 2022. With the experience gained by facilitating this year’s program, Dey plans to continue their career teaching others about the beauty of our local environment and the duty we have to protect it.
Dey shared, “Ever since I was a little kid I loved going out in nature and to the mountains with my family. I loved enjoying all of the beauty nature has to offer. In high school, a friend of mine told me about the BECY program and I jumped at the opportunity to join. BECY was everything I wanted to do for my future.”
As an intern, Dey learned about the many ways we can rehabilitate our local ecosystems that are a part of the unique ecoregion of the Sky Islands. As part of the BECY internship, youth meet like-minded conservation professionals who care about the environment. Through their experience with BECY, Dey received other job opportunities with Malpai Borderlands Group and at the Cochise College green house.
“BECY opens doors for local youth. Doors that many youth probably didn’t know were there to begin with. I will always encourage our youth to join this program regardless of their interest in nature as it provides a sense of community and also creates friendships.”