Nature Canada

NatureHood Partner Profile: Birding in Your NatureHood with the Nova Scotia Young Naturalists Club

This is a part of an ongoing Nature Canada series, profiling our NatureHood program partners. We’ve reached out to Nova Scotia Young Naturalists Club to learn more about their work on getting families out birding across the province! NatureHood offers programming built on nature exploration, outdoor education, and celebration of nature’s nearby wonders.

As the weather turns from spring to summer, we are drawn to the natural wonders found at our doorstep. Nature Canada’s NatureHood program traditionally works in partnership with local nature and community groups to connect young people to urban and nearby nature across the country. 

One of our partners is the Young Naturalists Club (YNC). YNC is an immersive natural history club for youth and families that promotes the appreciation and conservation of nature. WIth clubs led by local volunteers, YNC creates opportunities to develop natural history skills through interactions with naturalists and other hands-on learning experiences. 

“We walk right by exciting nature all the time, not even thinking about it. There are so many things we don’t know about, like that lichen on the sidewalk, how many bugs and microorganisms live in the dirt, or even just what our house millipedes get up to during the day. Staying curious makes everything engaging and parents can foster that curiosity by asking questions. “What does that rock smell like? Why are city birds such good imitators? How does this moss differ from that moss?” Nature is everywhere if you look for it.”

—Becky Parker, Young Naturalists Club Program Coordinator

In the non-pandemic days, YNC gathers its member families at least once monthly for an interpretive guided hike, boat ride, presentation, or to take part in a conservation action project. Families learn about the places they can explore together and how to take action to protect those spots.

The best way to learn about wetlands is to get your feet wet!

“I always love catching the look on a kid’s face when they finally get a chickadee to feed from their hand, or when they work up the courage to touch something they previously thought was scary and gross,” says Becky Parker, Program Coordinator of YNC. “Kids are so open to nature and learning new things. I love when they come to another YNC event and tell me something new they learned about the thing we saw last month.”

The premise is that positive experiences in nature and a shared excitement about the natural world will lead to the development of a life-long conservation ethic.

Natural history knowledge is being lost in Nova Scotia and across Canada. This comes at the detriment of both nature conservation and the health of Canadians. Natural history isn’t well-incorporated into school curricula, and many children are more likely to recognize brand symbols than they are the native species that dwell just outside their doors. 

Activity: Birding in Your NatureHood

Though we’ve passed peak migratory bird season, the summer months are still an excellent time to listen to a symphony of birdsong. 

Did you know you can enter your location using this Birds Canada tool, input the date, and receive a full list of birds that can be spotted in your area? We suggest using this tool with your family and creating a scavenger hunt to find your local feathered friends. No need to be an expert birder—the tool provides pictures, too! Happy birding!

Thanks to Becky Parker and the Nova Scotia Young Naturalists Club! You can learn more about YNC through their website, on Facebook, and on Nature Canada’s social media feeds. 

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Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.