KENTVILLE, NS - The aim is to build community while reconnecting people of all ages with the outdoors and teaching them about nature and environmental issues in a fun, engaging way.
Flying Squirrel Adventures is a program that gives people interested in nature an opportunity to get together outside and learn from local experts such as naturalists or biologists. Program coordinator Judy Lipp said it’s designed to have two streams, one for children and one for adults. There is a facilitator for the adult programming and two experienced nature leaders guide the children on their adventure.
The group meets in the parking lot behind the Kentville Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research and Development Centre on the third Saturday of the month, rain or shine, at 9:45 a.m. Events run until 12:15 p.m. and Lipp said they encourage participants to bring a picnic lunch.
She said the Kentville Ravine features a great diversity of plants and animals, providing a great outdoor classroom for Flying Squirrel Adventures.
“The ravine is a beautiful environment for this because it’s got one of the few old growth remnants left in the Valley, so it’s a really good example of a healthy ecosystem,” Lipp said.
The two groups get together at the beginning of the outing for an opening circle where details of the event are shared and they do an activity together. After the two groups split for the children’s and adult’s activities, they come back together for a closing circle where the participants share their experiences.
Lipp said the focus is on having fun while learning, integrating games and other enjoyable activities into the events. Lipp said they’ve held two outings at the Kentville Ravine to date, with the themes of trees and birding.
Another event is planned for June 16 with the theme of watershed health and water fun. She said both the children and adults would be exploring different aspects of Elderkin Brook.
The children will be going on a hike to the waterfall, learning about water loving plants en route. They’re encouraged to bring a change of clothes.
Beth Schaffenburg, a stream technician and community trainer with the NSLC’s Adopt-A-Stream program, will be exploring stream health and what people can do to help fish habitat with the adults. Participants are encouraged to bring rubber boots and a dip net.
Lipp said Flying Squirrel Adventures is a collaborative effort of several Valley environmental and nature groups that receives funding from the provincial Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
The Town of Kentville Recreation Department is running the program with support from the Blomidon Naturalists Society, the Jijuktu’kwejk Watershed Alliance, the Wild Spirits Forest and Nature School and the Young Naturalists Club of Nova Scotia.
Lipp said Flying Squirrel Adventures would be facilitating a leadership training program for young people this coming fall that will involve mentoring and volunteering. She said more information on this initiative would be circulated during the summer months.