Conserve, steward, and educate

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This post was provided by Jessica Bradford, Communications Coordinator at Nature Trust of New Brunswick, as part of our environment series.

A bald eagle soars over the Upper St. John River region of New Brunswick.
A bald eagle soars over the Upper St. John River region of New Brunswick.

Like our neighbours at the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, our natural Canadian biodiversity is abundant in every corner and crevasse of our home and native land – and there is no exception in New Brunswick.

Since our start in 1987, our mission and mandate at the Nature Trust of New Brunswick is based on three pillars: conserve, steward, and educate.   As a registered charitable organization dedicated to conserving the province’s ecologically significant landscapes, the Nature Trust of New Brunswick has conserved over 6,000 acres of land (equaling to 2,400 hectares) in more than 40 beautiful and diverse nature preserves in New Brunswick. Our preserves range from the Bay of Fundy islands, to mature riverine forests; extensive salt marshes, to urban wetlands brimming with biodiversity.  The quantity and quality of natural diversity is overwhelming across the entire province, and we at the Nature Trust of New Brunswick not only work to protect such invaluable diversity, we also work to educate our community when it comes to preserving our precious natural environment.

Nature Trust New Brunswick
Nature Trust of New Brunswick brings the classroom outdoors.

Engagement through education

Just as crucial as our conservation mandate, our mission to educate our community has become increasingly important to convey the necessity of conservation to our wider community.  As part of our mission to educate, we not only teach the essentials, we also work to instill a sense of responsibility and conservation ethic to our young and impressionable environmental stewards of the future who walk through our doors.  With this goal in mind, the Nature Trust has creatively engaged all people, both young and old, to learn of the importance of stewardship.

With a particular focus on our young stewards, we work to actively engage students through initiatives such as our Youth in Nature project, a program which facilitates art workshops on nature preserves, or our Power of Nature project, a program which allows young stewards to actively take part in nature preservation.  We also educate our young stewards through our one-of-a-kind Nature Sessions program, a program which films our students in music videos alongside popular local musicians on nature preserves just like the one featured below.  It’s a fun and creative way to get kids out into the great outdoors while engaging with nature and music.

More recently, the Nature Trust initiated a competition in partnership with Florenceville Elementary School to name a newly conserved island preserve located in their immediate community.  After classes submitted their names and reasoning behind their name submission, a selection committee consisting of Nature Trust board members and community representatives worked to draw a verdict. In the end, Mrs. Shaw’s grade three class was victorious with the name: Eagle’s Eye Nature Preserve, a name submitted because of the healthy population of eagles often seen flying over the island and surrounding areas. According to the students who made the submission, conversations they had with their parents and other adults taught them the history of the area and the eagle population native to the island.  They learned the native eagle population was not doing well at one point in recent history, but, because of changes made to protect them, they recovered.

“This challenge urged students to ask their parents and grandparents about their natural surroundings, all while getting excited about traditional knowledge from their ancestors too often forgotten,” says Renata Woodward, Executive Director of the Nature Trust of New Brunswick. “It is our hope this activity will encourage people in the community, specifically youth, to feel tied to the land and become more aware of conservation initiatives in their community.”

Located in the upper St. John River, the newly conserved island protects provincially significant wetland, forest, and the rare cobblestone tiger beetle, an insect listed as endangered under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.

“Having the opportunity to choose the name for a nature preserve close to their school gives students new insight into their community’s history and natural environment,” said Valerie Carmichael, Community Coordinator for Centreville Community School and Florenceville Elementary School. “The students have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be active participants engaged in creating history—the official naming and celebration of the new nature preserve.”

Whether it is generating awareness when it comes to land conservation, or strengthening the connection between people and their surrounding natural environment, it is only through innovative and creative initiatives blending our conservation and education mandate which will make a real difference when it comes to conserving and preserving our precious New Brunswick environment for generations to come.

To learn more about the Nature Trust, please visit their charity profile page >>>

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