Looking west from the Mesa to the Ashcroft Reserve at the start of the Elephant Hill wildfire, July 7, 2017. Students at Desert Sands Community School are looking to interview locals about their direct experience with the 2017 wildfires. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Looking west from the Mesa to the Ashcroft Reserve at the start of the Elephant Hill wildfire, July 7, 2017. Students at Desert Sands Community School are looking to interview locals about their direct experience with the 2017 wildfires. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Students looking for people to share their 2017 wildfire stories

Desert Sands Community School students want to speak with residents about wildfire experiences

The middle school class at Desert Sands Community School in Ashcroft is working on a project that focuses on people’s experiences of the 2017 wildfires, and is looking for members of the community who are willing to share their stories.

Individual students would like to meet virtually with people who have direct, firsthand experience of living through the 2017 wildfires, and who would feel comfortable sharing their personal experiences with the students. The intention is to obtain a cross-section of the community and include the experiences of a variety of people who played different roles and held different positions during the wildfires: firefighters, first responders, evacuees, residents, elected officials, and more. Sharing these personal stories will expose students to a range of perspectives and emotions experienced by local residents in Ashcroft, Cache Creek, 16 Mile, Clinton, the Ashcroft and Bonaparte Bands, Loon Lake, Skeetchestn, and more.

The interviews will be recorded and transcribed, and the students will then write them up, allowing them to learn more about editing. The aim is to eventually publish the stories, but prior to publication students will collaborate with participants to ensure that they they approve of the final result.

The students acknowledge that some people might find it a challenge to share their stories, which could be traumatic for them, and they want to be sensitive to the fact that sharing these stories, while powerful, is not an easy thing for some people. There is no pressure for anyone to participate, but the students would appreciate suggestions about local residents who might want to take part.

Any community members who are interested, and willing to share their personal experiences from the summer of 2017, are encouraged to contact the school, where every effort will be made to connect them with a student. There are approximately 50 students involved with the project, and each student is hoping to interview one person. The plan is for the interview process to start in November 2020, and participants will be contacted with more details before that time.

If you are interested in taking part in the project, or would like more information, contact Breana Paulos (bpaulos@sd74.bc.ca) or Brent Close (bclose@sd74.bc.ca). You can also contact the school at (250) 453-9144.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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