Some of you may have seen the Nature Trailer by now rolling through town, at the IPE or more recently this past Saturday during the ABNC Mega Fall Garage Sale event. If you haven`t yet, keep a eye out as the trailer will be on the road again soon to attend the Kokanee Salmon Festival Sunday, Sept. 20th at the ECCO Centre in Kelowna`s Mission Creek Park parking lot.
The delivery of nature interpretation and environmental education programs using the Nature Trailer is intended to complement existing programs and events already offered at ABNC, as well as at field sites, public events and schools throughout the North and Central Okanagan. Another goal for the Nature Trailer is to increase opportunities for ABNC staff and volunteers to engage pubic and to collaborate with other organizations to further our collective success in meeting and growing our mission-focused community impact together.
Growing public awareness of nature is fun and the Nature Trailer is no exception with hands-on, all-ages-appropriate and nature-oriented activities designed and delivered to provide experiential learning opportunities for everyone and to keep natural history and environmental education real, relevant and engaging. It is evident that the Nature Trailer initiative has catalyzed wide interest and support for nature education and public engagement in our region.
There are over 16 organizations providing either funding or in-kind support for the initiative. Coordinated in partnership with the Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program (OCCP) and the Okanagan-Similkameen Stewardship Society (OSSS), the Nature Trailer project recently received two years of funding from Environment Canada`s EcoAction Community Grant program. Generous donations and support has also been received from Telus, the Vancouver Foundation, and the Honda Canada Foundation, among others. In addition to OCCP, and OSSS project partners, the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) has also contributed in-kind to the project and the result is we have a developed a unique experience for public and a vehicle to get nature stewardship information resources, prizes, a little bit of the wow and wonder of nature into the hands and minds of public participants.
The trailer`s current educational theme is Grassland Habitat Connectivity which looks at how grassland animals survive and find resources in grassland ecosystems and sometimes large home-range territories. It’s in large part about Keeping Nature in Our Future, which extends the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy work of the South Okanagan-Similkameen Conservation Program and OCCP partners, which collectively represents more than 80 organizations including First Nations, government, non-government, and educational institutions and organizations throughout the region. The trailer’s theme compliments the OCCP exhibit, ‘How Do We Get From Here to There’, which is currently on display inside the Allan Brooks Nature Centre. If you haven’t seen it yet, come on up and visit us, it is here for several more weeks before it travels on to Kelowna`s ECCO Centre in late October.
ABNC is in a good position to further expand its delivery of community stewardship, and public outreach projects as well as nature educational programming to schools throughout the North and Central Okanagan during the winter of 2015/16. The Nature Trailer will attend a minimum of 15 public events and festivals right up and down the Okanagan Valley during the spring, summer and fall of 2016. We hope to see you out there.