Featured News, Scott Valley

The YESS Program- A Natural Success

Submitted by Sheryl Wilkins, Scott River Watershed Community Outreach Coordinator

“The 2023 Youth Environmental Summer Studies (YESS) program is one for the books! I feel incredibly grateful to have spent 6 weeks with these inspiring young adults.”

According to YESS Supervisor, Shannon Wedgley,
Pictured Above are the 2023 Y.E.S.S. Student Crew, Executive Director, Charnna Gilmore,
& Coordinator, Shannon Wedgley

A summer of hard work and bonding began in the majestic Marble Mountains. The crew’s first tasks included improving wildlife habitat at Big Meadows by thinning and piling Alder encroaching conifers and repairing wildlife guzzlers on Forest Service land.

Using time-tested tools from the Scott River Watershed Council’s Tool Kit, great headway was made in habitat creation, gravel surveys, stream analysis, and groundwater monitoring. The invasive Marlahan Mustard took a big hit as the tenacious crew plowed through a variety of areas in Scott Valley. And, the second week of a six-week program concluded with a visit to the Yreka Community Garden where the young group learned about permaculture and community health from a wise man known as ‘Flik’.

Identifying fish and improving cold water refuge – a crucial habitat to the lifecycle of the beloved salmon, kicked off the third week and concluded with the Salmon River Restoration Council doing invasive plant species removal.

Week four included enhancing pre-established Beaver Dam Analogs (BDAs) and conducting Alder transact and groundwater surveys at Meek’s Meadows.

The final two weeks were spent in the woods and on the river sleeping under the stars. A ‘Zero Electronics’ policy was implemented during the first week while backcountry trails were cleared and spare time was spent building forts, playing cards/games, and bonding in old-fashioned style.

The grand finale of the summer was the participation in the historical Salmon River Salmon Survey Dive – the largest of its kind in the world followed by a well-earned Klamath River rafting trip.

“I’m so proud of these young adults, I could not have asked for a better crew. The YESS season was an enlightening experience for all of us. Their bright attitudes, playful nature, and willingness to work hard are a testament to their character and are a feather in the cap of their generation. I feel confident that with continued support by the community through programs like this, we can feel good about passing the torch to these highly inspirational young adults,”

stated YESS Supervisor, Shannon Wedgley.

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