Women of the Earth

A prestigious award handed out to 3 Canadian Women

3rd Prize Winner

http://www.greenlivingonline.com/sites/default/files/3-Karen mckendry.jpgKaren McKendry, a specialist in biology and nature interpretation, founded the Young Naturalists Club (YNC) in Halifax in 2006. Her desire is to educate young people about natural history and the environment through monthly meeting with experts and field trips.

With 50 family members and a total of 77 children aged 8 to 12, the YNC is making its members aware of the threats to our ecosystems and of the initiatives that need to be taken to protect them. Another objective is to help children connect with nature, enhance their scientific knowledge, and help them understand their impact on the environment. Her motto is a good summary of her vision:  “Young naturalists Observe and Conserve.”

There are two types of free activities for Club members:

  1. Meetings with local experts on topics such as the environment, biology and the preservation of biodiversity. During these meetings, the children share their observations and take part in interactive, hands-on activities.
  2. Field Trips. “Beyond these meetings, we also organize field trips,” explains Karen. “Once a month, some sixty individuals, both children and parents, go out into the fields or other natural environments around Halifax to experience nature!”

Through meetings with committed scientists, we are hoping to inspire young people to take up careers in the sciences,” said Karen, who is passionate about the project. “I also think they retain more information when it is taught by passionate adults in a dynamic and concrete context.”

http://www.greenlivingonline.com/sites/default/files/YNC members at mcnabs isl beach cleanup.jpgAccording to Karen, nature plays a beneficial role in the physical and psychological development of children. Having experiences in the heart of nature helps develop their imagination and their ability to concentrate.

Frequently asked to create similar clubs in other communities in her province, Karen is hoping to create start-up kits containing information and resources that would be helpful to people aspiring to launch a similar program. These kits will be sent out to the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History’s provincial member-site network.