Fostering a Love for Natural Areas
October 30, 2012
Helping new Canadians discover the wonders of nature is the aim of a new Urban BioKit developed by the City of Edmonton, Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers and Environment Canada.
The BioKit is a colorful workbook full of engaging activities that families across the city can use to learn more about the richness of nature in Edmonton and to appreciate its biodiversity.
“Some new Canadians may not have had many opportunities to spend time in nature in their home countries, or the nature they are used to might be quite different from the natural areas we have here,” explains Grant Pearsell, Director of the Office of Biodiversity. “The BioKit introduces them to the natural areas, plants and animals that can be found in Edmonton and provides them with activities to help them enjoy and experience nature in the city.”
The Edmonton Urban BioKit contains facts, photos and hands-on activities about nature in Edmonton, written at a beginner literacy level. Guided BioKit walks can be arranged through the Office of Biodiversity for groups, and a box of supplies to be used alongside the activities in the booklet (hand lenses, paint sets, etc.) is also available from the Office.
The BioKit was given its first test run October 30, 2012 when clients of the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, led by volunteers from the City’s Master Naturalist Program, tried out the activities contained in the booklet.
Using the BioKit will not only help new Canadians – and all families who are interested in using it – appreciate nature in their neighbourhoods, but also realize the health, personal development and community building benefits that come from spending time in nature.
With the help of Environment Canada, BioKits have been created in other cities around Canada, but Edmonton is the first to create a kit specifically for new Canadians.
For more information about the Edmonton BioKit and how to order a copy, or to find a natural area park to explore, please visit www.edmonton.ca/biodiversity.
For more information:
Mary-Ann ThurberCity of Edmonton
Urban Planning and Environment