Community Sustainability and Resilience Youth Program
In 2020, in response to COVID-19, ThINC reworked its summer plans to allow for social distancing and other safety measures to take place. In partnership with Thetis Island Residents' and Ratepayers' Association (TIRRA) and the Thetis Island Community Farm Co-operative, ThINC pivoted its activities towards addressing local food security, which was an issue highlighted by the pandemic. Guided by the program coordinator, a small group of youth, affectionately known as the ThINCpod, were hired to carry out various activities to support local food production, as well as to design and implement several food-related projects pitched to the group by community members. During this time, the ThINCpod also engaged in trail maintenance and invasive species removal activities with TIRRA.
Funding from WorkBC allowed the group to build on the successes of the Summer Food Security Program and continue into the fall, developing and broadening their activities to include waste management and small environmental restoration projects. Over the course of 5 months, the students developed numerous critical skills, project specific skills, and knowledge about sustainable systems and ways of living. In return, the Thetis Island community received a boost of youthful energy and creativity, and the catalyst for several sustainability projects.
Meet the ThINCPod
Connor McRae Pharo
Connor is a fourth year Geographic studies student from the University of Victoria. He has experience working in an outreach capacity with conservation, and has recently returned from an work term in the Okanagan, combating the spread of invasive freshwater mussels. Connor has a passion for our shared environment and food security. As well, he believes that a healthy environment, managed sustainably, can bring many gifts. He is looking forward to working on the island, getting to know the community, and hopes to help increase the food security here, on Thetis Island.
Lara is an avid traveller and flower-loving girl who grew up among the ponderosa pines and balsamroot of Kelowna but always longed for the salty ocean breezes of the Pacific Northwest. An admirer of West Coast islands she has worked in Haida Gwaii, and is pursuing a BSc in Geography & Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. She loves a hard day of farm work, and finds joy digging into rich soil and taking advice from wise plants. She has experience volunteering with invasive species removal in Victoria, and conducting seabird research in Haida Gwaii. Her love for the eclectic and vibrant communities that the west coast attracts inspired her to get involved with ThINC and the Thetis Island Food Security project.
Aislinn Cottell grew up wandering the beautiful (albeit damp) forests of Thetis Island, fostering a deep passion for environmental protection. She has worked in various agricultural positions over the years, including with the Cowichan Green Community's edible landscaping team, CERES, and has helped establish a Seed Incubator Farm and other local food security projects in the Cowichan Valley. She is very excited to now be working with ThINC to build food resiliency closer to home. Aislinn graduated in the Spring of the plague year (2020) from Vancouver Island University with a BA in Creative Writing, and currently works as a freelance editor in tandem with her pursuits to help establish a sustainable human society.
Crimson has long called Thetis home. She moved here when she was six years old, and is now entering grade 11. Crimson lives with her family on a hobby farm and helps take care of a variety of animals, including milk goats, chickens, ducks, pigs, horses, and dogs. Crimson’s experience in sustainable living and food security began when she started WWOOFing with her parents when she was only three years old! She and her family worked at various farms, from Alberta to B.C., down through California, Colorado, and Mexico. This early start led to a blooming interest in nature conservation and she’s excited to continue this journey with ThINC! In her spare time, she enjoys writing and drawing, and is a passionate equestrian.
An engineering student in Victoria, Alex has several summers of tree-planting experience on both coasts of Canada and a personal interest in permaculture and small-medium animal husbandry. Alex is also interested in seeing firsthand how communities can benefit through increased food security.
Program Coordinator & Facilitator
Charlotte is a curious individual with a thirst for knowledge and learning. In her youth she spent much of her free time exploring the natural world around her; from forests blanketed with snow, to frog-filled bogs and wide, open fields. To this day, nature and learning remain an integral part of her life. Charlotte is keen to work, learn, and play alongside the students over the next several months while engaging in various sustainability projects.