Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
Matawa environmental program manager Sarah Cockerton
There will soon come a day when environmental monitors in Matawa communities are the community members themselves.
Matawa Four Rivers environmental services group has been busy educating members of the nine Matawa communities on everything from mapping to environmental assessments on proposed mining projects in their territories.
Matawa's environmental programs manager Sarah Cockerton said youth programming is also very popular.
"To get them engaged and interested in science, that's a big one," she said Tuesday afternoon as Matawa hosted an open house to highlight all of the services Four Rivers offers.
And getting youth interested in science today means they might become their community's environmental monitor in the future as development begins.
"They're the people that live on the land, that are going to be impacted in the future so they have to be actively involved in monitoring that," she said.
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Matawa CEO David Paul Achneepineskum said the environment is a top priority for the tribal council when discussions with the province begin. But an environmental focus isn't just about mining.
"With our people in terms of how they see the potential impacts of the mining development or even forestry," he said.
It's all part of transferring skills from the Matawa organization to the people, from job training to environmental stewardship.
"So that they themselves can actually work with their own people," he said. "We want our people to be ready when the market turns around."