Op-ed by Nadine Ives

There is nothing quite like that back-to-school feeling.


But what if you could capture the freedom of summer days, the exploration of experimenting and learning outside, year round?

New Brunswick is home to a dedicated and innovative group of outdoor nature educators who know how to teach, outside.

The educators behind the Great Minds Think Outside program of the New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN) come from a broad range of backgrounds and disciplines, and they know their stuff. These educators know, for example, that a child who learns outside reaps benefits in physical, mental, emotional, and social development, in addition to improved academic outcomes. Math? Plot a graph of the plants found in different areas of the playground. Group objects found in nature according to colour, shape and texture.

Science and climate change? Measure temperature, rain, and snowfall and track changes over time.  Observe the life cycle of frogs in a local wetland.

Literacy? Write a story imagining a day in the life of a bug, or a tree. Use adjectives to describe the clouds.

Sometimes those who struggle in the classroom blossom when given opportunities to learn outside - and pretty well everyone loves exploring outdoors.

So it is good news that as teachers, parents and students across the province head back to class for another school year, our team of outdoor nature educators is gearing up for another season of helping teachers connect their students to the wealth of learning opportunities just outside their classroom walls. After all, in New Brunswick, nature is never far from our doorstep.

Since 2015, the Great Minds Think Outside team has visited more than 40 schools across the province to help teachers make lessons leap off the page and come alive before students' eyes in the outdoors.

The training sessions are activity-filled opportunities for teachers to experience for themselves the excitement of taking curriculum outside to see how effective it is for making memories full of important learning moments that will stay with children for years.

The activities can be adapted for any subject area, tying memorable hands-on experiential learning opportunities to the important skills and development goals outlined in the provincial curriculum. As one teacher from Sackville's Salem Elementary School said after taking the training, "this is the future of education." Many teachers who've participated in Great Minds Think Outside sessions say it is a fantastic way to reach kids who just learn better by doing, while reinforcing lessons learned previously inside the classroom. One teacher from a recent session put it best: "The more senses involved, the more movement and positive experiences, the better the learning." After taking a lesson outside, students return to the classroom with more focus and creativity, stronger recall and memory, and are better at problem-solving and working cooperatively with classmates. And it's not just the children who benefit. Teaching outside gives teachers a renewed enthusiasm for their work and promotes more innovative teaching strategies. A teacher who takes the class outside for a science lesson suddenly starts seeing ways to connect it to math, language arts, social studies and more. Talk to your child's teacher about inviting the Great Minds Think Outside team to your school. You can book a session by contacting Pascale Ouellette, the Education and Outreach Programs Coordinator with the New Brunswick Environmental Network, at 506-855-4144 or by emailing nben@nben.ca. Learn more about the program at www.nben.ca/greatminds.

Let's make sure that this year, at more and more schools across the province, going back to class does not mean going back inside!

Nadine I
ves, The Learning Outside Coordinator for the Conservation Council of New Brunswick and a founding member of the New Brunswick Environmental Network's Great Minds Think Outside program.

Learning Outside Nov2016 75

Spotlight

Blog

New NBEN Logo!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017
by Raissa Marks
A new logo for the NBEN was launched at the Eco-Confluence gathering last weekend!
logo 1

The violet, as New Brunswick’s provincial flower, represents the province and its environment.  The centre is the network which brings us all together.

The logo was designed by Annika Chiasson, the NBEN’s Communications Coordinator and talented graphic designer.

Community Group Recognized for Environmental Work

Monday, 30 October 2017
by Raissa Marks
For Immediate Release
October 30, 2017

On Saturday, October 28, 2017, an environmental award was presented to New Brunswick citizens in honour of exemplary service to their community.

The Red Head Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association was honoured with the Phoenix Award “in recognition of their unfaltering and ultimately successful commitment to defending their community and home from the threat of heavy industrial development.” The Phoenix Award is dedicated annually to a group or individual who has dedicated their efforts to policies and legislation and have been through “the fire”.

The tank farm and marine export terminal for the Energy East pipeline were slated to be built in Red Head, in East Saint John. Concern over the environmental impact of this project to their home community and communities across the country and around the Bay of Fundy caused local residents to organize against the Energy East pipeline. Due to their efforts, alongside those of many along the entire route of the proposed pipeline, the Energy East proposal was withdrawn by TransCanada earlier this month.

Raissa Marks, Executive Director of the New Brunswick Environmental Network, praised the efforts of the Red Head Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association. “They impressed many in the environmental movement and beyond. They showed that dedicated, hard-working citizens can stand up to big industry, build broad alliances, and come out of a big challenge stronger and more united. Red Head residents were at ‘the end of the line’, and showed that, regardless of where you are located, standing up matters.”

The award was presented during the New Brunswick Environmental Network’s annual meeting, Eco-Confluence, which was held in Fredericton over the weekend. Each year, significant efforts by citizens and citizen groups toward the protection and restoration of New Brunswick’s environment are recognized at a special awards ceremony.

The New Brunswick Environmental Network is a non-profit communications network of over 100 citizens’ environmental groups from across the province. The goal of the Network is to encourage communication and collaboration among groups and between groups, government and other sectors.

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Award Presentation Gordon Lynaya for web
Gordon Dalzell, Citizens Coalition for Clean Air, presenting the 2017 Phoenix Award to Lynaya Astephen, Red Head Anthony's Cove Preservation Association.  Photo Credit: Pascale Ouellette

Upcoming Events


Peace and Friendship Alliance Gathering
Fri, Nov 24th, 2017


A Tale of Two Necessities: Children and Resource Development
Tue, Nov 28th, 2017
New Maryland

Deadline for ETF submission
Thu, Nov 30th, 2017

Action Alerts

Have your say on Draft Water Strategy!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017
by Conservation Council of New Brunswick
A Water Strategy for New Brunswick

On October 6, 2017, the department of Environment and Local Government released a draft water strategy for comments. The draft strategy is available on the government website. Comments can be submitted by email to: waterstrategy-strategiedeleau@gnb.ca or by mail to: Department of Environment and Local Government, Policy and Planning Division, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, N.B., E3B 5H1. Comments will be accepted until November 20, 2017.

In order to help groups with their submissions, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, in cooperation with watershed groups, has put together key elements of a watershed strategy and a sample letter to send to the Department.

Summary​ ​of​ ​8​ ​Key​ ​Elements​ ​of​ ​a​ ​Strong​ ​Water​ ​Protection​ ​Strategy

New​ ​Brunswick​ ​deserves​ ​a​ ​water​ ​protection​ ​strategy​ ​that:
    1. is​​ ​​science-based;​ ​(involving​ ​baseline​ ​data,​ ​tracking​ ​and​ ​taking​ ​into​ ​consideration cumulative​ ​impacts,​ ​environmental​ ​flows)
    2. sets​ ​water​ ​quality​ ​standards​ ​within​ ​a​ ​working,​ ​legal​ ​mechanism;
    3. conserves​ ​all​ ​water​ ​within​ ​​watersheds​ ​including​ ​surface​ ​waters​ ​(lakes,​ ​streams,​ ​rivers) and​ ​groundwater,​ ​by​ ​developing​ ​good​ ​conservation​ ​plans,​ ​policies​ ​and​ ​practices,​ ​and uses​ ​the​ ​precautionary​ ​principle​ ​as​ ​a​ ​guiding,​ ​legally​ ​enforceable​ ​tool;
    4. protects​ ​our​ ​marine​ ​coastal​ ​areas​ ​in​ ​law;
    5. has​ ​a​ ​meaningful​ ​form​ ​of​ ​​co-governance​ ​with​ ​First​ ​Nations;
    6. includes​ ​the​ ​development,​ ​implementation​ ​and​ ​enforcement​ ​of​ ​watershed​ ​protection plans,​ ​developed​ ​in​ ​a​ ​transparent​ ​manner,​ ​involving​ ​government,​ ​businesses,​ ​watershed organizations,​ ​farmers,​ ​municipal​ ​officials,​ ​and​ ​citizens;
    7. is​ ​accountable,​ ​which​ ​includes​ ​ongoing​ ​monitoring​ ​and​ ​annual​ ​reporting​ ​to​ ​the​ ​public​ ​on the​ ​progress​ ​of​ ​goals​ ​and​ ​objectives​ ​outlined​ ​in​ ​the​ ​water​ ​protection​ ​strategy;​ ​and,
    8. is​​ ​enforceable​ ​through​ ​a​ ​modern​ ​legal​ ​framework
Sample Letter
 My name is ______, and I am writing to express my support for a strong Water Strategy in New Brunswick.

I live near ______ OR I live in ___________ watershed

Describe your favourite spot to fish/swim/paddle etc.

Share your favourite water memory.

Clean, healthy water is important to me because _____________.

Have you recently experienced a boil water order? Blue-green algae? Extreme weather? Describe what is of concern to you.

I applaud the provincial government for moving forward on its commitment to protecting our water; however I believe the draft strategy does not go far enough to ensure healthy water for my watershed.

We need a water protection strategy that (Insert one or multiple key elements).

I am afraid that if left unattended, my watershed will face ongoing and increasing treats from (pollution, wetland and coastal estuary loss, loss of adequate environmental flow to sustain aquatic life, and increasing climate change impacts such as floods, droughts, and high temperatures.)

Please protect my watershed by implementing a strong water protection strategy with modern legislation that (note key element(s)) to ensure the health of our water and people.

Thank you,
Your name.

For more information, visit the CCNB's website.

Call for nominations for the NBEN Awards - 2017

Monday, 31 July 2017
by Annika Chiasson
Every day people and environmental groups take action to protect and restore New Brunswick’s environment.  

Over this past year, who stands out in your mind? 

We invite you to nominate a group or individual deserving of one of the NBEN awards which will be presented in style at Eco-Confluence 2017.  Send an e-mail to nben@nben.ca describing your nominee’s work.  Nominees must be members or associates of the NBEN*.

Nomination deadline is September 13, 2017.

*Current NBEN Steering Committee members are not eligible for awards.

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