Connecting New Canadians and Nature: Welcome to Newfoundland!

Moving to a new city is never easy, but moving across the globe can be especially daunting.

In 2016-2017 we partnered with the Association for New Canadians, the Grand Concourse Authority, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada to welcome families who have recently arrived in the province by introducing them to our natural areas, parks, and outdoor recreation opportunities. Coordinator Liz Andres led trips to The Rooms provincial museum, Salmonier Nature Park, and Pippy Park which gave everyone the chance to experience nature in Newfoundland together, and we welcomed our new friends into the fold!

This project encouraged the exchange of ideas across cultures while promoting Newfoundland’s natural areas as a source of recreation, health and well-being for all Canadians. We’re hopeful that many of those who first learned of Nature NL through this program will continue to join us for events and trips, and we learned a lot about connecting with a diverse group of New Canadians.

The Osprey

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The Osprey was the publication of Nature Newfoundland and Labrador (formerly the Newfoundland and Labrador Natural History Society). These days, articles are posted to our blog instead, but The Osprey’s three decades of history have made it a very valuable resource on wildlife in this province. It is still featured regularly in the media or consulted by scientists as it records important research, stories, and records.

It was a source of information and original research material focusing on Newfoundland and Labrador’s natural history such as birds, plants, insects, mammals, general ecology, and philosophical nature musings. All Nature NL members can access The Osprey under Issues – become a member here. Archived issues can be found through the MUN library.

Growing Health

Growing Health connected recipients of mental health services, and their families, with experienced gardeners and nature experiences. The goal was to promote mental health and well-being through therapeutic nature and gardening opportunities and, in doing so, encourage community participation and create a positive, engaging, empowering, and educational space. The project was based at the garden of the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice in Pippy Park in St. John’s. The garden site was divided into two plots and shared with the Association for New Canadians.

Project participants planned and grew vegetable gardens in the Pippy Park area of St. John’s. Growing Health also hosted a range of related activities, workshops, and opportunities.

Through this project we hoped to impart coping strategies and tools for increasing mental health by using the benefits of gardening, and the satisfaction and self sufficiency of growing food. Participants contributed to the planning, planting, weeding, maintaining, harvesting, preparing and eating the bounty of the community garden.

The Growing Health project was sponsored by Nature NL, The Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice, The Home Depot Canada Foundation, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Eastern Mental Health, THRIVE and The Wellness Coalition- Avalon East, and was coordinated by Julie Huntington.

Find the final report here.

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