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Bringing Mountains to People Where They Live: Parks Canada Outreach Education in Edmonton
Thursday, January 26, 2017 - 00:00
For many Canadians who live in Canada’s major urban centres, reaching a national park can be a challenge. As Canadians become increasingly busy and urbanized, they may have less time for nature based experiences. As a result, Parks Canada places a priority on meeting and interacting with Canadians where they live in order to provide them with a glimpse into what national parks and national historic sites have to offer.
In Western Canada, this is done through outreach and engagement events and venues in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.
Jasper National Park has been very active in reaching Edmontonians especially, attending outreach opportunities at important places such as the John Janzen Nature Centre, the Art Gallery of Alberta, the University of Alberta campus and the Telus World of Science. We also strive to attend winter events and festivals where large numbers of visitors will be, such as Snowfest and most recently the Deep Freeze Festival.
Outreach events provides education opportunities for individuals to learn about a wide variety of topics including species at risk, and winter wildlife through hands-on table talks, presentations and interactions with Parks Canada staff. Information about Jasper National Park is also shared on a one-on-one format to potential park visitors to help them with their travel plans. This year, Parks Canada’s mobile exhibit entitled “What’s The Connection?” which features caribou, fire and Whitebark Pine themes has been at Telus World of Science since the beginning of November.
With Elk Island National Park also right on Edmonton’s door step, it’s only natural that most of our outreach events are coordinated by both parks. Staff work together on programming offers and the sharing of ideas. A team of 8 Parks Canada volunteers from Edmonton also assist the Agency by engaging with Canadians in the area. These volunteers are trained at the beginning of each winter and help provide community connections and insight that is invaluable to our programming success.
Through each of these outreach elements, Parks Canada continues to encourage Canadians to visit their national parks and historical places, and by providing them with the information and means to enjoy them, the Agency allows more Canadians to experience the outdoors and learn about our heritage.
For interested individuals, here are the upcoming outreach events:
Jan 26-30th at Ice on Whyte with staff from Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site
Feb 4th at Telus World of Science’s “Arctic Day”
Feb 18-20th at Hawrelak Park for the 27th annual Silver Skate Festival.
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