Jenna Snelgrove, Community Environmental Sustainability (Peterborough-Haliburton) hub RA
As a CFICE research assistant working with Sheila Ziman at the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust and Heather Reid at Abbey Gardens, both located in Haliburton, and U-links with Marie Gage, I have received the opportunity, working with Trent University Professors Tom Whillans and Nadine Changfoot, to learn more about public engagement and environmental awareness in the Haliburton Highlands. My ambition is to work in partnership with these inspiring organizations to involve community members in the appreciation of the irreplaceable environments that surround them. By creating opportunities to encourage the interest of local citizens in the outdoors, this could create a cultural change that could positively support stewardship in this area.
To be more specific, recently I have been planning day events to educate the public about natural features that are prominent in the Haliburton Highlands. The first event that will be hosted by these organizations during the winter focuses on recognizing mammal tracks and signs. This will allow participants to better understand wildlife that is often elusive in nature. Next, the spring event will entail a journey to find and identify salamanders hidden under woody debris in the forest. By creating a means for local naturalists to have fun while learning more about the biodiversity in the Haliburton Highlands, this will hopefully establish an even greater interest in preserving natural heritage. This public participation would serve to benefit these organizations as well by increasing visitation at their extraordinary properties. This project ultimately combines the goals of the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust and Abbey Gardens to use environmental education as a method to involve the community in land stewardship right at home.