Valley Youth Become Treffery Creek Streamkeepers
There is a little creek flowing from above Bench Road, underneath the highway and into the Koksilah River near the Robert Service Memorial on Cowichan Bay Road. You might have never noticed it before, but for the past six years, this little creek has been cared for by the graduates of the Young Naturalists’ Club. The youth have regularly monitored the water quality and taken on enhancement projects, such as streamside planting, to improve the creek habitat for fish and other wildlife. One of the group’s original youth, Holly Miller-Stroes, told how their discovery of an adult trout led to Treffery being protected as a fish-bearing, spawning creek.
Many members of the original Treffery Creek group have since grown up and moved on, spurring the need to train a group of new streamkeepers. The Cowichan Land Trust hosted a two-day youth-focused Streamkeepers course in March, which not only attracted youth, but also adults who want to support youth. Dianne Schwestak of Crofton took the course so she could encourage her grandchildren to be streamkeepers and help the environment. “I was surprised by the heart felt experience I gained through this course, got much more than I imagined. I was blessed out of my borrowed Wellingtons!” Schwestak said.
On Saturday, April 16, a new group of Valley youth took on the task of becoming the second generation of streamkeepers on Treffery Creek. The new group consists of members of the Young Naturalist’s Club, as well as some youth from Cowichan Intercultural Society (CIS). Linda Hill, the Leadership Coordinator at CIS added, “Treffery Creek is an example of how youth and adults can stand up for nature together.” One of the adult supporters, Heather Fisher, added, “The youth specifically asked us to do environmental work, so I feel this streamkeeper group fills an important niche in promoting youth leadership in environmental, earth-based service work in the Valley.”
Cowichan First Nations youth selected to participate in Wilderness International’s “Wisdom Seekers Knowledge Keepers” program were also at Treffery to gain knowledge about salmon, biodiversity and the environment. They are excited to be directly involved in conserving threatened salmon habitat on a creek within Cowichan Tribes traditional territory. This group is also hosting a “Walk for the Wild” on May 25 at the Cowichan Sportsplex to raise money for the Sansum Point acquisition.
Through the Friends of Cowichan Creeks project, the Cowichan Land Trust will be working to monitor, protect, and enhance creeks by facilitating the work of streamkeeper groups. They are hosting their next Streamkeepers course on May 28 & 29 in Lake Cowichan. Registration is $60 and includes lunch and refreshments. If you’d like to get involved in streamkeeping, learn more about the project or register for the course, contact Jen at the Cowichan Land Trust by phone (250) 746-0227 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org