Local youth learn outdoors skills

<p>From left, Jeffery Parolini, Garrett Warner, Victoria Pena-Staats, Kaylie Simon, and crew leader Katie Eyles.</p>

LONG CREEK – A crew of kids from Grant County had their first job experience this summer on an Oregon Youth Conservation Corps crew with the North Fork John Day Watershed Council, based in Long Creek.

It was the first year the Watershed Council has been awarded a grant for the program. The council hired Katie Eyles, a graduate of Oregon State University at Bend, as crew leader, and selected nine youngsters from the county to be on the crew.

The crew started each morning with a stretching circle and safety briefing before launching into a range of restoration and resource projects. They cleaned plantations, surveyed wilderness trails, helped with monitoring, cut and piled brush, and helped around the council office.

The work was done through a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Forest Foundation, Oregon Youth Conservation Corps, and the City of Long Creek.

The teens worked on a plant survival survey on a reclamation site in the Granite Creek area, including species identification and removal of dead trees and netting provided challenging activities. They also learned about healthy watersheds during a week of clearing overgrown areas, and recovery of the Long Creek back-up watershed and spring boxes.

These and other projects gave them greater insight to the condition of our natural surroundings and the impact of our actions on these resources, said Elaine Eisenbraun, council director. They also earn class credit for completing the course.

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