SYRCL’s Youth & Outdoor Leadership Opportunity (YOLO) Alumni Reunion & Volunteer Day
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our team was committed to finding safe and creative ways to collaborate with our awesome youth citizen scientists during our fall meadow restoration efforts.
Engagement is crucial for our YOLO program. It is only with the continued support of the National Forest Foundation and our youth volunteers that SYRCL’s Watershed Science team can work to inspire the next generation of Yuba Watershed stewards.
These bright and committed students play vital roles in completing the restoration efforts needed to keep these meadows thriving and doing what meadows do best: providing quality habitat to countless species, retaining precious water resources, sequestering carbon, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
This year, SYRCL’s River Education and Watershed Science Teams pivoted to a new method of engaging with our youth volunteers by hosting a COVID-safe “YOLO 2019 Alumni Reunion & Volunteer Day” on Saturday, October 24, 2020. Four of our fantastic YOLO 2019 Alumni deserve much of the credit for the success of our day!
These four students took time in between part time jobs, weekend homework loads, and their precious weekend recovery windows to join us for a day of service work in Loney Meadow.
While spending a day reconnecting, these students helped to complete important, on-the-ground restoration actions by removing cattle-guard fencing from several vulnerable riparian areas throughout the meadow.
These fences are installed in early summer before cows enter the meadow to graze and are removed after the cattle leave, prior to the arrival of heavy snows. The 2019 YOLO alumni prevented our Watershed Science team from having to replace fencing that would be damaged by heavy snowpack, and their efforts and the work of our other volunteers enables our Watershed Science Team to spend more time doing vital data analysis work and providing mentorship to some of our YOLO 2019 Alumni in their senior projects!
While this year’s YOLO program is certainly not what we’d envisioned, we’re grateful for the unexpected opportunity to connect with these students on a deeper and more sustained level, to learn from our YOLO team members, and to share our passions and ideas of how we can individually and collectively further protect and restore our Yuba Watershed. Being able to get outside and connect with nature and our youth community during this challenging year was an invaluable experience for all of us.