Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Outdoor Environmental Education Comes to Life in Lunenburg County

Acadia students and graduates are taking the lead in a new and innovative community partnership in Lunenburg County to provide environmental education and facilitate community development. A collaborative effort of the Blue Nose Coastal Action Foundation, Michelin Tire, the Halifax Regional Adventure Earth Centre and Acadia University have helped bring outdoor environmental education to life in Lunenburg County. Programs are being run at the Morton Centre, a beautiful Acadia field station on Heckman’s Island near Lunenburg.

The spring started with Cycle Savers, a fun-filled environmental education program for local grade 4 classes. Coordinated by Megan Beliveau (BRM ESST 2014) and Jen McKinnon, Cycle Savers is a day of outdoor environmental activities led by high school student volunteers who receive intensive leadership training. The 4th grade classes learn about the air, soil and water cycles at the Morton Centre and then apply that learning back at school and home in working to implement lifestyle changes to reduce their impact on these cycles. The summer months have included week-long earth adventure day camps, off-site earth education visits and a high school student environmental program. These are the exciting first steps in fostering the vision for a dynamic, community oriented and environmentally thoughtful learning center.

Located on a remarkable 99 acre property, the Morton Centre, was donated to Acadia in 1995 by Harry and Rachel Morton for environmental research and education. Cate deVreede (BSc. Environmental Science 2005, MRM 2011) is taking the on-going lead in Lunenburg County to develop these programs through the Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation. They see the program expanding over summers, providing learning and employment for Acadia students while offering new innovative programs in the community. Acadia Faculty including Dr. Ian Spooner (Environmental Science) and Drs. Alan Warner and John Colton (Community Development & ESST) are supporting the efforts.

Megan Belliveau (BRM ESST 2014) working with children as a part of Cycle Savers.

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