Insights for Building Community Resilience from Prioritizing Youth in Environmental Change Research
Youths are the next generation to foster community resilience in social–ecological systems. Yet, we have limited evidence on how to engage them effectively in learning about environmental change. One opportunity includes the involvement of youths in research that connects them with older generations who can share their values, experiences, and knowledge related to change. In this community-based study, we designed, assessed, and shared insights from two intergenerational engagement and learning interventions that involved youths in different phases of research in the Saskatchewan River Delta, Canada. For Intervention 1, we involved students as researchers who conducted video and audio recorded interviews with adults, including Elders, during a local festival. For Intervention 2, we involved students as research participants who reflected on audio and video clips that represented data collected in Intervention 1. We found that Intervention 1 was more effective because it connected youths directly with older generations in methods that accommodated creativity for youths and leveraged technology. Engaging the youths as researchers appears to be more effective than involving them as research participants.