Strengthening the Nature Network at the BC Nature Fall Meet
This Fall, members of Nature Canada staff traveled to the West Coast of Canada to meet with nature groups based out of British Columbia that were attending BC Nature’s Fall Meet in Kelowna. The intent of this trip was to strengthen the relationships between Nature Canada and the Nature Network partners, and enabled our Nature Network staff to learn more about Kelowna’s natural history and witness the wilderness and wildlife that these groups are working to protect.
It is difficult to single out one experience, interaction or moment as the highlight of this trip. There is incredible value to building and strengthening relationships in person that enable Canada to create a network, and join our voices to speak up for protection of nature from coast, to coast, to coast.
During BC Nature’s Fall Meeting, there were presentations touching upon a variety of topics, highlighting the important work being done to protect the natural spaces in and surrounding Kelowna. This work is crucial to preserving biodiversity and protecting wildlife and wilderness of British Columbia. The importance of this work became tangible during a field trip to Black Mountain/sntsk’il’ntən Regional Park which is home to deer, black bears and coyotes, among other species. This outdoor excursion was lead by the Central Okanagan Naturalists Club, and provided a view of world-renowned, and iconic Canadian landscape, Okanagan Lake.
The Nature Network’s goal is to strengthen nature groups across the country through support and increasing their public engagement, and the day following the BC Fall Meeting, they were able to do just that. Teagan, the Nature Network organizer responsible overseeing BC groups, and Nature Network Director Matt Price, held a workshop for 25 BC Nature groups on Engagement Organizing. This workshop aimed to provide insight into best practices for merging traditional campaign practices with modern technologies, and to ease the natural transition between the old and new methods of engagement.
The workshop introduced engagement organizing, touched upon building your club’s “pyramid”, presented various recruitment tactics such as social media, and finished with details on how to deepen engagement within your club. This workshop provided important engagement organizing information, but it was especially valuable to create a space for discussion and sharing among the groups. Of the experience, Christina and John Saremba from Burke Mountain Naturalists in Coquitlam BC said that;
We found The Engaging Organizations workshop to be interactive and engaging. The workshop provided us with a practical framework for enhancing the growth and building the succession of volunteers. Moreover, we gained valuable insights to how non-profit naturalist groups can improve engagement from the community and within our organization. We highly recommend this workshop to other non-profit groups.