Since 2009, the St. Croix Estuary Project Inc. has been delivering the Youth Engagement in Environmental Stewardship Program (YEES) with the objective of empowering youth to become local stewards of the Province’s natural resources. This program has provided youth with knowledge and practical skills with respect to wildlife, natural habitats and stewardship activities and is offered in correlation with the high school science curriculum.
The students are introduced to a variety of environmental subjects such as aquatic ecosystems (including wetlands, riparian zones, rivers and lakes), forestry, soils and wildlife. As part of the hands-on experience, students take measurements, such as water quality parameter measurements, to analyze the difference between local bodies of water including marshes and lakes. Soil samples are also analyzed to determine the qualities and role in the forest. Guest speakers on various topics also make class visits and facilitate presentations and help contribute to the knowledge sharing aspects of the program.
The study of the inter-tidal zones help students to discover the adaptations of local marine species, and how these species evolve in order to survive in harsh environments. Native New Brunswick wildlife is studied, in relation to the local ecosystems, and an attempt to identify many species using their tracks, scats, songs, nests, and behavior is practiced by the students. Students also learn about the endangered species of the area, in addition to land and wildlife management strategies, in order to learn the importance and value in taking an active role to environmental preservation.
With the support of the Fundy Community Foundation, Environmental Trust Fund and New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, the 2017/2018 YEES program has reached three local high schools – St. Stephen High School, Fundy High School and Sir James Dunn Academy.