Environmental engagement : what insights can lower mainland nature organizations provide the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre with regards to program development and social media outreach? Tung, Gurtej
The planet is facing many environmental challenges. One way to address these challenges is through environmental education and engagement. In this report, 6 nature organizations from Greater Vancouver were interviewed in hopes of improving environmental program development and delivery at the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre (LCEC). Several commonalities emerged from the interviews. First, funding for these organizations comes from multiple sources including governmental and corporate. A lot of this funding is directed at youth development. All organizations focused on providing skills and career development to youth. Second, most of the organizations run their programs in multiple locations. These locations are bound by municipal jurisdictions but, in one case, programs run province wide. Finally, all organizations said that their social media presence was lacking but, nevertheless, social media was cited as a valuable outreach tool. In this vein, it is recommended that the LCEC shift focus to youth and young adult skills/career development. There is grant money available for this, such as a Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) grants. Further, the LCEC should increase its sensitivity to multicultural programming by partnering with local organizations, such as the Green Club (http://www.greenclub.bc.ca/), which routinely conducts tours of Lynn Canyon. Also, it is recommended that the LCEC increase its social media presence. This can be done by pursuing creative engagement techniques such as creating online polls, asking timely questions to spark discussion or conducting a photo contest. Additionally, the LCEC should decentralize their outreach presence throughout the District of North Vancouver. For example, consider bringing elements of LCEC’s youth programs, such as Canyon Quest and Rainforest Biodiversity Study, to nearby high schools. Given the organizations interviewed and literature engaged, this study focuses on broad strokes environmental program development. It provides an overview of ‘best practices’ regarding environmental engagement. In the future, it is recommended that research be dedicated to one of the following topics; multicultural environmental engagement, youth skills/ career development within environmental organizations or social media usage amongst environmental organizations.
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