Follow the journey of young nature-lovers, as they experienced this year’s second annual Family Nature Walk as part of our month-long Biodiversity Days celebration.
In honour of the UN’s International Day for Biological Diversity (May 22nd), we are excited to have hosted our second annual Family Nature Walk event. Biodiversity Days is being hosted by UBC Botanical Garden in collaboration with SEEDS Sustainability Program, UBC Farm and the Climate Crisis and Urban Biodiversity initiative.
On May 21st and 22nd, families explored 10 different stations placed throughout the garden. Along their walk, children and youth learned about the wonder of biodiversity and the many birds, bees, berries, flora, fauna and fungi that inhabit the Garden. After last year’s success in bringing the community together to celebrate biodiversity, we wanted to make this year’s celebration just as special!
The Family Nature Walk is the largest event of this year’s month-long Biodiversity Days. Our 2022 event sold out with 140 registered families! Over two days that the event ran, we welcomed 354 guests — and saw 165 children and youth make their way through our learning stations, receiving Kids Nature Kits along the way.
An event of this size is not possible without our supporters and a dedicated team of over 35 staff and volunteers. We would also like to recognize the generous contributions of the Delta Naturalist Society, who supported our bird education stations by providing feathers, eggs, and nests.
By hosting The Family Nature Walk, we hope to increase access to the Garden for all families. We want children and their families to experience and enjoy the wonder of nature, and to learn a little about the ecosystems, species and genes that contribute to biodiversity.
Overview of the 2022 Educational Stations
For 2022, ten education stations were organised across the Garden in three Learning Hubs that families were encouraged to find and visit.
Hub 1: Welcome, Wellbeing & the Wonder of Biodiversity
The families began their nature walk in the front courtyard of the Garden (pictured below, left). Here, families were welcomed and children were invited to choose a tote bag for their Kids Nature Kit. Children were also given a map to help them navigate the Garden on their journey.
Children and their families also learned “What in the World is Biodiversity?” (pictured bottom right) and children received a miniature hand lens to see and explore magnified. Many thanks to our hub lead, Tamara Litke, who brought a warm and welcoming environment to our arriving guests.
Hub 2: Fungi, Flora and Forests
As families made their way through the Asian Garden, they arrived at the Greenheart Treewalk, where they ascended through the forest canopy to a bird’s eye view of the forest floor. As they returned to terra firma, they were greeted by a number of education stations that explored the mysterious underground world of fungi, and the diverse native trees and flowering plants of BC (pictured below, left).
Children were also invited to share their wishes and dreams for biodiversity in the future on our wishing tree (pictured below, centre) and to create their own cyanotype leaf prints using sunlight (pictured below, right). Many thanks to Alex Wong, hub lead, for his unique and creative craft ideas!
As families made their way towards the third learning hub, they were greeted by a polaroid photo booth at the Garden’s Moon Gate. Volunteers offered to take family portraits to remember their time at the Garden. Guests were also invited to learn about citizen science tools like Seek and iNaturalist to help them ID the natural world.
Hub 3: Berries, Birds and Bees
Once families had cooled off under the forest canopy, they crossed through the Moon Gate Tunnel to the sunnier North side of the Garden. As they approached the food garden, they learned about the delicious diversity of berries and the bees that pollinate them. Kyla Stokes, a local high school student, shared her pollinator expertise from the ArteMiss Pollen Nation — her project which aims to support backyard pollinator gardens. At this station, children received their own strawberry plants to take home and grow (pictured below, left).
The families could then make their way to the Taylor Plaza for some berry-filled muffins, berry-infused water (pictured below, middle), or other fruit snacks and refreshments. Finally, families could climb up to the garden pavilion to learn about the many Birds of UBC Botanical Garden alongside the pavilion’s beautiful bird-friendly window art, designed by UBC student Derek Tan. We would like to recognize the dedication of hub lead Delanie Austin, who dressed up as a berry and a bee on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
The Biodiversity Days Celebration is expected to finish off on a high note over the next week. We have two more sold-out events — a Pollinator Walk and a Bird Walk at the UBC Farm, hosted in collaboration with the SEEDS Sustainability Program. Meanwhile — preparations for next year’s event have already begun! We hope to engage more families to learn about the beautiful world of biodiversity and to enjoy our special place.
Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post reflecting on Biodiversity Days 2022!
UBC Botanical Garden would like to thank everyone who worked hard on ensuring the Biodiversity Days series has been a success, and for the community’s support and enthusiasm.
If you participated in Biodiversity Days experiences, please let us know if you have any feedback, suggestions or want to participate in future Biodiversity Days series!
Submitted by Ben Scheufler, Biodiversity and Conservation Action Coordinator and Tara Moreau, Associate Director of Sustainability and Community Programs