March 4, 2023
Melanie Apps is a Youth Coordinator for the Lower Mainland region, based out of the Surrey-Langley area. She joined the Invasive Species Council of BC in June 2021 in her current role where she helps coordinate volunteer events for ISCBC’s Youth Volunteer Program.
Why did you decide to take the job and what were you doing before this?
Before working with ISCBC, I was an English as a Second/Other Language Instructor and Academic Administrator at a private English Language school in downtown Vancouver. Although my career up to that point was almost exclusively related to ESL teaching, I was very interested in environmental conservation and had been volunteering over the past few years with invasive species removal and native planting initiatives at a few local non-profits. I really enjoyed getting outside and making a tangible difference with just a few hours of work, pulling out invasives and planting native species. When the role for Youth Facilitator popped up in spring 2021, I jumped at the opportunity to help youth get involved with what I enjoyed doing: connecting with nature and helping restore local landscapes.
What’s the coolest experience working with ISCBC?
There are too many things to count! If I had to choose one, it’s seeing our youth volunteers grow with the experiences they’ve gained and seeing them turn that knowledge and experience into projects that they can proudly take ownership of. A number of our volunteers have gone on to run their own projects including running public ecological restoration sessions, organizing eco-art workshops, becoming involved in science communication initiatives, hosting their own local litter clean-ups, and so much more. This has been beyond cool to see, and has actually inspired me to run an ecological restoration project on my own time as a volunteer.
What is something you have learned about yourself through working with ISCBC?
One thing I’ve learned is that I have the ability to adapt in different roles, especially since there are many different ways to get involved while working with the Council. From facilitating in-person and virtual events, to helping out with invasive insect work, to helping produce a video of our youth volunteers and their projects – I was pleasantly surprised to find I could indeed learn new skills and adapt to different situations.
What would you say to a potential volunteer?
Between everyday responsibilities like work and school, I can understand how challenging it can be to find the time to volunteer. Even so, I absolutely recommend you give it a go! It’s such a great way to learn new skills, connect with other like-minded people, and it’s an awesome excuse to get out into nature and take a break from the stresses of one’s day-to-day life. I really wish I had volunteered more when I was in university. I really think it would’ve helped me develop more confidence and given me a chance to explore possible career options. So if you’re even slightly considering volunteering, I say go for it – you’ve got nothing to lose!
Become a Youth Volunteer!
Join like-minded young adults to plan and carry out real-world activities. Support our goal to support healthy habitats and communities, keeping them free of invasive species. Learn more about becoming a youth volunteer!