Since 2013, The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong and the United Native Friendship Center have partnered
to form the Stewardship Youth Ranger-Ogimaa Binesiiyog Shared Youth Program. The Youth Rangers finished another successful year in the Rainy River District; the 2017 season allowed youth aged 16-18 to participate in exciting work projects, start new friendships and learn about environmental stewardship.

A few highlights included working with Mitaanjigamiing First Nation and their summer students on a project to mitigate the impact of nuisance beavers- Beaver Baffling. The program also returned to the annual Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship to provide monitoring and fish care, with an opportunity to take a spine sample to determine the age of the fish with the assistance of trained MNRF staff. Crews participated in two camping trips at the Caliper Lake and Rushing River Provincial Parks where they helped maintain campsites, and had the opportunity to practice their basic Ontario Recreation Canoe and Kayaking Association (ORCKA) canoe skills on the water. The season wrapped up with our annual Youth and Elders Summit where the students introduced themselves in Ojibway to the Elders and showcased their accomplishments through a presentation and video. We had the opportunity to tour the historical mounds at the Kah-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Center, and discussed opportunities to continue incorporating Anishinaabe cultural teachings into the program and projects. In addition to valuable work experience, the youth received provincial standard Health and Safety training, ORCKA Basic Level II certifications, as well as training in cover letter and resume writing, work ethics, interview skills and cultural diversity.

Anyone interested in applying for the 2018 summer season is urged to contact the program coordinator at danielak@shooniyaa.org (807-274-0152 x. 200) for more information.

Photo: Storm Drain Stenciling in Kenora, ON: a collaborative project involving the Lake of the Woods District Property Owners Association, Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Riverview Industries, City of Kenora and the Youth Rangers (Credit: D. Klicper, 2017)