How do you stimulate today’s youth to become stewards of natural areas?  Take a group of UNB Renaissance College students and have them invent a new way of placing New Brunswick’s nature preserves on the radar of young people.  The result is a program that draws on the visual arts, music and skill development to make a lasting difference to the Nature Trust of New Brunswick.

As part of their Community Problem Solving course at Renaissance College, students form partnerships with local organizations to work on projects within the community.  In addition to contributing to community success, students enhance their problem solving, project management and communication abilities. 

“The students impressed me,” said the Nature Trust Executive Director Renata Woodward.  “We discussed ideas, but they created their own unique project that made absolute sense.” 

The students quickly zeroed in on a key to building engagement:  for people to care about these unique natural places they have to physically see them and experience them.  This in turn helps build ownership of natural areas.  The program recognizes the human connection to nature and the risk of a generation growing up without that connection.

The campaign uses art, music, and skill development to engage young people.  A range of artists will conduct art workshops using different mediums on the preserves across the province.  Musicians will be invited to preserves to record take-away music videos in the natural environments for The New Brunswick Nature Sessions.  This will create an archive of online music videos and will provide exposure for musicians and the preserves.  The Skills development portion has two components: the first will expose participants to biological surveys focused on research and data collection with energetic herpetologist Greg Jongsmaa, the second involves outdoor workshops on leadership, communication and problem solving using nature as both a backdrop and a teacher. 

The team has developed a website where one can learn more about the project, upcoming events and view the Brunswick Youth in Nature Campaign promotional video.  If you would like to take part, search for the ‘New Brunswick Youth in Nature Campaign’ on Facebook or Twitter, or go to their website - www.nbync.ca.  The first event will be a workshop by artist Sarah Grass at Hyla Park on the north side of Fredericton this Saturday, February 18 (more information can be found at www.nbync.ca). 

Renaissance College students Aaron Saunders and Kelsey Wilson from Fredericton, Bethany Young  from  Quispamsis, Jennifer MacArthur from St. Stephen, Joe Crawford from Alberta, and Olivia Fogel from Toronto have been developing their fresh approach since September and are now beginning to register participants for programs that will run from now until next summer.

Further information contact

Nature Trust – Renata Woodward, Executive Director (506) 457-2398 naturetrust@ntnb.org">naturetrust@ntnb.org

Student Joe Crawford will speak for the students (506) 261-7122 c6242@unb.ca">c6242@unb.ca

All of the students can be reached by group e-mail at nbync1@gmail.com">nbync1@gmail.com .

Photo attached

Bethany Young from Quispamsis is one of six Renaissance College students developing a youth engagement program in partnership with the Nature Trust.  Bethany is featured in a promotional poster for the program which is designed to open the eyes of young people and immerse them into the natural environment through the visual arts, music and skills development.

Renaissance College is the University of New Brunswick’s Faculty of Interdisciplinary Leadership where students become leaders in all sectors of society through a unique experiential and collaborative learning program.   Students experience engaging   academic programs, practical skills development, and interdisciplinary thinking through problem-based learning, a Canadian Internship and an International Internship to name several.  As part of the program, they also work with community partners to address important challenges.

Nature Trust acquires and stewards a system of nature preserves representing a diversity of ecosystems in New Brunswick.  The organization promotes respect for and knowledge of New Brunswick’s natural surroundings. The nature trust manages 32 properties, totaling more than 5,000 acres of important and diverse habitat. 

Preserves are identified here.

The campaign will use preserves that run from Woodstock through Fredericton, Oromocto and Sussex to Saint John to St. Stephen.

News from Groups Archives

Upcoming Events

Duck Days of Summer Nature Camps
Wed, Jul 26th, 2017

Deadline for Wildflower Seed Grant
Fri, Jul 28th, 2017

Deadline to complete Energy East survey
Mon, Jul 31st, 2017

Action Alerts

Resquest for letters of support: Proposed name restoration for the Wolastoq

Sunday, 30 April 2017
by Alma
 The Wolastoq Grand Council supports our YOUTH GROUPS on their proposal for changing the name of the Saint John River, back to it’s original and proper name; Wolastoq (the beautiful & bountiful river ). We see this as a good place to begin the process of implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; which was strongly recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  

Proposed Name Restoration: 
  • The name Saint John River back to it’s original indigenous name -  Wolastoq
Purpose: 
  • Wolastoq; (the beautiful river) is the original Indigenous name of the River.
  • Wolastoq is the name sake for the real identity and unique nationality of our People; the Wolastoqiyik.  Respecting the rights of Wolastoqiyik.
  • Scientific studies have now confirmed, what our people have always known; “that water has memory”.    This river will remember its original name.   
  • This deed would begin a process for reconciliation with a show of goodwill on the part of the Government of New Brunswick, and would;
  • Create opportunities for discussions and engagement around indigenous issues.
  • Wolastoqiyik have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons. 

The Wolastoq Grand Council is requesting support letters from our Allies; as individuals, organizations, and/or Groups.  For more information, contact Alma Brooks, 506-478-1256, almabrooks.26@outlook.com

Please send support letters to the following addresses:

The Wolastoq Grand Council,
Grand Chief; Ron Tremblay
50 Maliseet Drive
Fredericton, NB, E3A 2V9


David Coon
Office of the Green Party Leader
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB, E3B 5H1

Additional Information

  1. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Carolyn Bennett; Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; has assured the Wolastoq Grand Council in writing that; - “Canada is committed to a renewed nation to nation relationship with indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.”   Carolyn Bennett also stated that ; - “Achieving full reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Canada is at the heart of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s mandate, and that the government of “Canada will engage with Indigenous peoples, provinces, territories, and Canadians on how to implement the Declaration in accordance with Canada’s Constitution”.

  1. Andrea Bear-Nicholas
As described in a 2011 article by Andrea Bear-Nicholas, Maliseet historian:  
  1. The first step in the dispossession for the indigenous peoples in the Maritimes began in earnest immediately after the British capture of the French fort at Louisbourg in 1758.   Where place names and names of First Nations in the entire region had been inscribed on earlier maps; both would soon be erased by colonial cartographers in a process described by J. B. Harley as cartographic colonialism.  The justifications for these erasures was found in the doctrine of discovery.   
  2. The second step in the dispossession of indigenous peoples in Nova Scotia began immediately after signing of the Treaty of 1760 by Passamaquoddy and Maliseet Leaders, and later the signing of the Mascarene Treaty.   Although there was no surrender of any lands in either of these Treaties; 1.5 million acres of Maliseet land which outlawed the surveying and expropriation of lands not yet ceded by the indigenous inhabitants or purchased by the Crown.    


  3. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:   Articles 1, 2, 6, & 13   support and provide a guide for the implementation leading to reconciliation.

As a distinct ‘people,’ we have a right to our accurate identity and nationality.
  • Indigenous Peoples have the right to the full enjoyment as a collective or as individuals of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international human rights law. 
  • Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin and identity. 
  • Every indigenous individual has the right to their own nationality. 
  • Indigenous people have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons.  “States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected”.

ACTION ALERT: Reinstate funding to the Canadian Environmental Network

Friday, 03 February 2017
by Raissa Marks
The Canadian Environmental Network and its provincial affiliate networks need your help!

Historically, the Canadian Environmental Network and its provincial affiliate networks including the NBEN received annual core funding from the Government of Canada. This was used to facilitate networking on environmental issues across the country, coordinate national and provincial issue-based caucuses, coordinate ENGO participation in federal public consultation processes, and maintain open lines of communication between ENGOs and the federal government.

In 2011, as part of the across-the-board cuts to civil society organizations by the previous federal government, all federal funding to the RCEN and its provincial affiliate networks was cut. This left the national network and most of the affiliates with functioning primarily on a voluntary basis with limited capacity to do their work.

There is hope that the current government will provide for renewed funding in its upcoming budget. This funding is crucial for the survival of the national network and many of the provincial affiliate networks. A proposal has been submitted. It now needs strong and immediate support from environmental groups and individuals across the country.

This is where you come in!

Please take a few minutes to write to Prime Minister Trudeau and your MP telling them why you value the RCEN, your provincial affiliate network, or environmental networking at the national level in general. Feel free to use the template letter provided below. You can personalize it based on your experience or simply copy and paste.

Trudeau’s email is justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca and you can find your MP’s email here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members

Let’s show our federal politicians that a strong, well-connected grassroots environmental community is essential to a strong Canada!

Draft Template Letter:

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

I am writing to ask that annual core funding to the Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) be reinstated.

Historically, the RCEN provided a crucial link between environmental groups across the country, both large and small. This link was vital in helping communities address environmental issues right across the country and ensuring a robust approach to the development of environmental policy in Canada.

Since funding was cut in 2011, the RCEN and most of its provincial affiliate networks have been functioning primarily on a voluntary basis with limited capacity to do their work. This is not acceptable. A strong, well-connected grassroots environmental community is essential to a strong Canada. I urge you to reinstate core funding for this crucial work immediately.

Sincerely,