Engaging Refugee Children in Various Stages of Local Restoration Efforts
Boise has conservation groups that participate in on-the-ground habitat improvement and restoration projects, but youth, particularly the children of refugees, are often not engaged in these initiatives. Elizabeth Urban plans to incorporate children of Boise’s refugee population, through their related non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the schools they attend, in these efforts. Her ambition is to educate them about the principles of conservation and exhibit the varying stages of restoration occurring at different sites in the area, and to then engage them in activities that would benefit each place. After initial classroom preparation, she will take them to a fully restored site to illustrate the benefits of conservation. The next trip will be to the newly created Blacks Creek Bird Reserve. This site is now protected due to the efforts of Golden Eagle Audubon Society and partners, with support from Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grants. Though protected, the site would greatly benefit from further restoration. The children will participate in re-vegetation and trail maintenance at this site. Lastly, Idaho Bird Observatory's newly acquired Boise River Property would serve as an example of what happens to sites without stewardship. After assisting with the initial site cleanup and similar efforts, they will generate ideas to further restoration of the site based on what they have learned. The end result will be the improvement of at least two sites, the involvement of children in their environment, and a new connection between refugees and the conservation community.