Monday, December 2, 2013

Young Naturalists Club Chapters across Nova Scotia share nature with youth and families

Post written by Robin Musselman, Coordinator for Young Naturalist Club of Nova Scotia.

It was a beautiful autumn day last fall when a dozen families headed out with Jeremy Lundholm a Plant Ecologist, to explore some of the hidden natural areas within the urban area of Halifax. The walk started at a remnant of mature oak woods on the campus of St. Mary’s University. Jeremy then led them along rail lines and informal footpaths and ended up at his house deep in the south end of Halifax where he has turned his front yard into a natural landscape full of native plants and homes for squirrels, frogs and bees. During the same month four other Young Naturalists Club Chapters across Nova Scotia were holding similar events including: learning about nature photography; visiting an apiary; discovering the various mosses that grow along the coast; and having an edible plant walk.

Each month Young Naturalists Club (YNC) Chapters across the Province hold monthly meetings and field trips to explore the natural history of Nova Scotia through hands-on experiences and interactions with mentors and experts in natural history. Youth today know more brand name logos on clothes than they know common species in their neighbourhoods, and they are spending less time outside than ever before. The YNC is providing youth and their families a forum to acquire natural science knowledge and skills not currently taught in schools, such as wildlife species identification and field guide use. As well, the YNC provides a chance for youth to get outdoors and develop a sense of comfort, curiosity and love of the outdoors. The importance of time spent in nature and outside to the development of the physical and psychological health in youth have been well documented in the literature on environmental education and on child development. These positive experiences help youth to build a strong connection with the natural world, which in turn leads to future generations of environmentally responsible citizens who want to look after their natural community.

The Young Naturalists Club of Nova Scotia has been the recipient of funding from Nature Canada for a number of years. We are very grateful for the support of Nature Canada so we can continue to offer our free programming to youth and families across Nova Scotia.