Summer is a time where Canadians make the most of the weather and take full advantage of the wonderful parks we have in and around our cities. For New Canadians, there may be barriers to follow suit. Perhaps one might not know where the parks are, how to get them, what you can do there, if parks are safe places, or if there are any rules to follow. This is why CPAWS Southern Alberta provides workshops for adult new immigrants about parks, bear awareness and stewardship. We designed these unique workshops to help new immigrants improve language skills and develop a sense of place in this new home. The focus is on building nature language, sharing our experiences from different countries and building a stewardship ethic.
Calgary is the fourth largest centre for newcomers in Canada. With a growing new immigrant population, programs and opportunities to learn about community and conservation are invaluable. Many new immigrants come to Canada with a frame from where they lived. Water is not potable, carnivores are bad and wilderness is riddled with danger. Education is key. Education not only dispels many misconceptions but also is a path to understanding and belonging in one’s community, one’s ecosystem.
Thanks to the generous support of RBC Foundation, we have now launched an interpretive hiking experience for new immigrant families in Fish Creek Provincial Park. The hikes occur near the train line to make the program accessible to all. Our first two hikes in June were a smashing success. Here is what the group’s coordinator had to say:
“Today’s hike was tremendous! Thank you so much for all you did to make today a success. Vanessa and Julie were stellar. The ladies who came today learned A LOT. They were grateful to learn about local wildlife, some plants, the habitat and how so much is interconnected. Even those of us who were born and raised here, such as myself, were glad to be a part of today’s events.”
Adult new immigrant participants made the following comments at the end of the hike:
“Canadians like nature and protect it… I will make this a big part of my life too.”
“I never realized how much we can change things.”
By providing an immersive experience in a local park, CPAWS SAB connects adult new immigrants to nature, builds confidence and skills to spend time outdoors and helps shape a stewardship ethic in Calgary’s growing new immigrant population. We have eight more hikes planned for August and look forward to continuing these programs through this summer and beyond!
To support programs like this, or for more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, 403-232-6686 or check out our education page on this website.
Education Director, CPAWS Southern Alberta