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 firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com
Student Joe Crawford will speak for the students (506) 261-7122 firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com
All of the students can be reached by group e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com .
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.