Youth rangers back

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the Stewardship
Youth Rangers

Hello and boozhoo from the 2017 Fort Frances Stewardship Youth Rangers!
We had a successful first two weeks and are excited that our season is underway!
The Stewardship Youth Rangers-Ogimaa Binesiiyog Partnership Program is supported through a partnership of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), Shooniyaa Wa Biitong Employment and Training, and the United Native Friendship Centre.
We have two teams, each composed of four rangers, an assistant team lead, and a team lead.
This eight-week summer employment program allows us to work on unique natural resource management projects in and around our community that benefit the environment.
This season is the fifth year for this program and there will be 51 Stewardship Youth Ranger teams across the province.
Here in the northwest, there also are teams operating in Atikokan, Dryden, Kenora, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, Terrace Bay, Armstrong, and Thunder Bay.
We completed a number of training courses involving both classroom and hands-on learning to ensure we are healthy and safe at work this summer.
We also helped conduct silvicultural effectiveness monitoring (the data collected helps determine how well a re-planted forest is growing).
We used our Global Positioning System and orienteering skills to track the tree plots, and helped collect data for the Fort Frances tree project database.
They collect information using Geographic Information System to locate trees and record their species and size, measuring both tree height and diameter.
The project is designed to help identify trees on municipal property, map their locations, and measure tree diameter and height.
The database is maintained by Rainy River District Stewardship Council and the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre.
At the Rocky Inlet ski trails, Elder Brian Smith taught us about the Anishinabe culture and language, such as how to introduce ourselves in Ojibwe.
We also learned about the medicine wheel and how to identify the medicinal value of various plants found in nature.
We then helped Mitaanjigamiing First Nation members install “beaver bafflers”–a humane way to manage heightened water levels caused by beaver dams.
To build them, rangers installed drain pipes through the dam, with one end in the deep part of the water body and the other downstream, far from the dam.
They work by “baffling” the beavers in that they can’t hear the running water, which they instinctively would work to dam up.
The bafflers allow water to flow through the dam and downstream, rather than creating a pond upstream of the dam.
This, in turn, keeps water levels stable and the beaver dam intact.
We also spruced up the Eighth Street ski trails in Fort Frances by clearing away brush, trees, and bushes.
We look forward to sharing more about our activities and accomplishments next week with you!

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Youth rangers back

The Stewardship Youth Rangers

Hello and boozhoo from the 2014 Stewardship Youth Rangers of Fort Frances District!
We are eight high school students (Hailey Beaudry, Caleigh Payne, Cameron Jolicoeur, Matt Berube, Mitchell Jones-Foy, James Gesic, Ashtyn Dokuchie, and Jenny Hammond) who are very excited to be participating in this Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry summer employment program!
We’re looking forward to learning more about natural resources in the Fort Frances area and how we can be good stewards of them—all while acquiring valuable workplace skills, training, and experience.
For the second year in a row, our program has partnered with the local United Native Friendship Centre and Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong Training and Employment Centre.
This partnership has allowed the program to expand locally to have two six-person SYR teams.
Our teams are made up of a balance of aboriginal and non-aboriginal youth led by our team leaders, Shannon Kabatay and Petri Bailey, and assistant team leaders Kelli Cole and Christina Vandermeer.
Our first day at work was Monday, June 30, when we met our fellow colleagues at the Fort Frances District MNRF office during our tour and had a chance to speak with several ministry staff to learn more about their work.
We also received training in the workplace discrimination harassment policy and violence in the workplace prevention.
We learned about the importance of personal protective equipment and marine safety, too. It was a great first day!
On the Wednesday (July 2), we taught students in Mrs. Gurski’s summer class at St. Michael’s School and at the UNFC about the many animal species found in our district, such as red fox, timber wolf, skunk, and lake sturgeon.
We brought along some animal pelts to give the students an opportunity to learn more about fur-bearing mammals up close!
Later in the day, MNRF conservation officer Kevin Elliott spoke to us about his career and really inspired us to pursue our own career goals one day.
Thursday (July 3) was safety day, when we learned a great deal about workplace health and safety and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).
Then on the Friday (July 4), we finished our first week by heading out to nearby Rice Bay, which was a perfect setting to receive training in the Global Positioning System (GPS)—a space-based satellite navigation system.
We also learned the essentials of navigation techniques, such as using compasses and reading maps, and put our new skills to the test by doing some orienteering.
Later in the day, we participated in bear encounter safety training and learned how to be “Bear Wise.”
Overall, it’s been a great start to what’s already shaping up to be a fantastic summer.
Look for updates on our projects and ongoing work in Fort Frances District over the next seven weeks!