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The HRM Naturalist Project: Growing the Nature Network through BIPOC and New Canadian Leadership Development

We are so excited to announce our new pilot program, the HRM Naturalist Project!

We’ve taken steps to diversify our own network at Nature Nova Scotia, targeting young, fem-identifying, black, indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) Nova Scotians through online content and our event series over 2020-2021. We have seen some success in these initiatives, witnessing significant growth among young women stepping forward to take action for nature. However, engagement with BIPOC Nova Scotians and new Canadians in particular has only occurred at a surficial level. This has resulted in many of our events and initiatives being created and led by white settler members of the nature network, which may not always be culturally relevant or appropriate for the broad audience they are offered to. And this is a problem…

The natural sciences have long suffered from a lack of diversity. Status quo hiring and volunteer engagement only widens the societal divides that contribute to inequality in our province, but it’s also bad for nature. The nature network is aging. Volunteers are retiring and the niche natural history knowledge and skills that help us protect our natural spaces are going with them. Effective conservation requires meaningful public participation. We cannot expect Nova Scotians to take action for nature if they haven’t experienced it or don’t have the tools to make change.

We want to develop a network of young BIPOC and new Canadian Nova Scotians with the natural history, communications, and culturally-relevant skills required to lead nature engagement initiatives for members of their own communities, and beyond. We will host a series of on-site natural history skill-building workshops for BIPOC and newly immigrated Nova Scotians (aged 16-30) over 5 months, drawing on existing relationships within the nature network but also on the feedback of other BIPOC-led nature groups and the participants themselves, and help participants plan and lead a capstone event or educational resource of their choosing at project end. This combination of skills development and event planning/logistics support will enable young Nova Scotians who are underrepresented in our community to take on new leadership roles within their “naturehood,” while also helping to grow and diversify our nature network as a whole.

How It Works

Participants will have a selection of 10 on-site workshops to choose from and be provided with the transportation, tools, and other resources needed to meaningfully engage in each experience. Participants who complete at least 3 workshops as well as a capstone project engaging other Nova Scotians in the things they have learned will receive a certificate acknowledging their accomplishment and be entered into our natural history prize draw taking place in December 2022. Participants choosing to undertake capstone projects will be provided with additional resources needed to complete their project (printing, transportation costs for event attendees, honorariums for guest speakers, etc.)

Our Schedule

Check back soon for our full schedule!

  • Sun June 26th, 12pm-2pm: Forest Plants @ Sandy Lake Park, Bedford
  • Sun July 10th, 12pm-2pm: Culturally-Relevant Nature Engagement @ Halifax Public Gardens, Downtown Halifax
  • Sat July 23rd, 12pm-2pm: Wetlands, location TBD
  • Sat Aug 6th, 12pm-2pm: Communications Skills for Naturalists @ Susies Lake, Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area
  • Sat Aug 20th, all day: Coastal Ecosystems @ Port Hebert Bird Sanctuary and Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site Seaside Adjunct (bus leaves from the Halifax Forum at 8am)
  • Sun Sept 11th, 8am-10am: Birding @ Point Pleasant Park, Halifax
  • Sat Sept 24th, 12pm-2pm: Culturally-Relevant Nature Engagement, location TBD
  • Sat Oct 8th, 12pm-2pm: Communications Skills for Naturalists, location TBD
  • Sat Oct 22nd, 12pm-2pm: Mushrooms, location TBD
  • TBD: Final Meet-Up, location TBD

How To Sign Up

Permanent and temporary residents of Nova Scotia who identify as BIPOC or new Canadian are invited to fill out our short form detailing their interests and accommodation needs. The form will go live the first week of June and we will reach out to participants shortly after.

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