July 5, 2022, Greater Sudbury, Ontario – Families and individuals living across Greater Sudbury have access to new resources to connect with local nature and freshwater areas. Thanks to generous funding from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Watersheds Canada and Junction Creek Stewardship Committee have launched a lending library program with the Greater Sudbury Public Library.
Thirty Ontario-curriculum linked Backpacks are now available for rental. Each Backpack contains activities and field equipment to help families explore local nature and the wildlife that live there. The Backpack activities are targeted for grades 7-12 but will be enjoyed by all ages! Inside each Nature Discovery Backpack is a variety of field tools including binoculars, identification guides, a water quality test kit, an observation jar, and a dip net, and a 32-page ‘Nature Discovery Learning Workbook’ filled with 10 activities. This Workbook is also available for free download on Watersheds Canada’s website.
“It has been wonderful to see our Nature Discovery Programming expand beyond Eastern Ontario to reach more families, classrooms, and individuals”, says Monica Seidel, Communications and Fundraising Manager at Watersheds Canada. “We are excited for everyone to get outside this summer and use the Backpacks to learn more about nearby nature and how they can help protect it.”
To launch the lending library program, education workshops were held at the Lively, Garson, and Downtown Mackenzie Greater Sudbury Public Library branches and the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation library. These workshops provided attendees with an opportunity to practice using the different materials found inside a Backpack, participate in a live water quality testing exercise, and ask questions about environmental issues experienced in the Greater Sudbury area. The workshops also acted as a catalyst for at least three children to sign up for their own library cards!
“Because of attending this workshop, I learned more information on where different types of species are and what to look for”, said one workshop attendee. “I love our libraries! Thank you for providing education and resources for children to explore nature.”
Because of the accessibility of these Backpacks, they will decrease financial, geographic, experiential, and knowledge-based barriers for students to participate in community science projects, native species identification and planting, and environmental stewardship. Each Backpack will help families become more confident in identifying local species, exploring and connecting with local natural areas, identifying local water quality issues, and leading and implementing local solutions.
“The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee is thrilled to partner with Watersheds Canada to facilitate in such an amazing program in N’Swakamok/ Greater Sudbury”, says Miranda Virtanen, Executive Director at Junction Creek Stewardship Committee. “The program has been well received in the community; everyone is excited about the Nature Discovery Backpacks and the fun resources they come with. We look forward to future collaborations to help expand the program and fulfill the needs of the community.”
“N’Swakamok/ Greater Sudbury is home to numerous valuable waterways and natural spaces that are in a state of ecological recovery and require ongoing community stewardship. The Nature Discovery Backpacks will be a great tool to help the public explore and connect with these spaces, building memories and appreciation to care for the land and water”, Miranda adds.
If you live in the Greater Sudbury area and are interested in getting your family outside for their next adventure, be sure to check out a Backpack in summer 2022. Each Backpack can be reserved and checked out for one week at a time from the Lively, Garson, or Mackenzie branches only. Please return all field materials with the Backpack to the Greater Sudbury Public Library branch you originally borrowed it from (Lively, Garson, or Mackenzie only).
If you would like to bring the Nature Discovery Backpack to your community group or library, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
About Watersheds Canada
Watersheds Canada is a federally incorporated non-profit organization and registered Canadian charity committed to providing programs to communities across the country that work to engage and help shoreline owners enhance and protect the health of lakes and rivers.
About Junction Creek Stewardship Committee
The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee is a dynamic charitable organization focused on the restoration of a large urban waterway in the City of Greater Sudbury. Our vision is to see a healthy and revitalized Junction Creek ecosystem by: conducting research and monitoring programs, organizing restoration activities; providing educational opportunities; and connecting the community with Junction Creek to empower long-term stewardship.
Communications and Fundraising Manager