There are over 120 Guardians programs operating successfully across the country. Guardians are trained experts who manage protected areas, restore animals and plants, test water quality and monitor development. They play a vital role in creating land-use and marine-use plans. And they connect youth with Elders and provide training that prepare young people to become the next generation of educators, ministers and leaders.

A centerpiece of the proposed Stein Nahatlatch Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area will be the Guardians and Youth Guardians Program. The Guardians will provide long term management, maintenance and enforcement on the land. The Guardians on-going work will be guided by the dynamic Land and Water Use Plan created by the nation.

There could not be a better time to create an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area where Elders can help train Indigenous Guardians and Youth Guardians through traditional knowledge of fire and ecosystem management, including the use of prescribed burns and other strategies as versatile management tools in order to reduce the risk of future forest fires.

The creation of the Indigenous Guardians and Youth Guardians programs within the proposed Stein Nahatlatch Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area are an essential component to the overall success of the initiative. The Guardians and Youth Guardians will be the individuals hired to manage on the ground restoration, economic development, conservation, communication and education to all future generations.

Currently the Stein Nahatlatch Initiative is creating a strategic Guardians Implementation Strategy Report with the support of TD Bank Group through its corporate citizenship platform, the TD Ready Commitment. This will help accelerate the process of creating an effective and efficient Guardians and Youth Guardians program.