We are thrilled to share the exciting highlights of our third annual Family Nature Walk event, held on May 20th and 21st, 2023, in honour of the UN’s International Day for Biological Diversity (May 22nd). This special event is part of our Biodiversity Days celebration, a month-long event series organized by UBC Botanical Garden in collaboration with SEEDS Sustainability Program, UBC Farm, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum and the Climate Crisis and Urban Biodiversity initiative.
Every year, young nature lovers experience a unique journey through the Garden as they explore 9 different education stations placed throughout the Garden. We were delighted to have 94 families and 98 enthusiastic kids join us on this adventure!
As they explored the Garden, families traversed the Greenheart TreeWalk, discovered the secrets of forest gardens, uncovered fascinating and unique food plants and took time to watch for birds and pollinators. After last year’s success in bringing the community together to celebrate biodiversity, we wanted to make this year’s celebration just as special!
We owe a heartfelt thanks to our dedicated team of over 30 staff and volunteers, whose support made this incredible event possible. We are also grateful for the contributions to the education stations made by the Beaty Biodiversity Museum and Saori Ogura, who helped to animate our What in the World is Biodiversity? and The Magic of Millets stations.
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 2023 Education Stations
This year, 9 education stations were organized across the Garden into three Learning Hubs that families and other guests visiting the Garden were encouraged to find and visit.
Hub 1: The Wonders of Biodiversity
Families were welcomed to the Garden with smiling faces and invited to pick up the first parts of their Kids Nature Kit at our registration table. As they took their first steps into the Garden, they were given a map to help them navigate the Garden and learned about The Wonders of Biodiversity. With the first parts of their Nature Kit in hand, children and families explored the variety of specimens on loan from the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, using their hand lenses to bring them up close and personal with the intricate details of animal and insect diversity!
Hub 2: Delicious Diversity of Plants and their Pollinators
The next stop on the families’ journey was over to the sunny North side of the Garden through the Moon Gate Tunnel. A warm welcome awaited them at “The Magic of Millets” station, a celebration of the 2023 UN Year of Millets and the remarkable work of Saori Ogura in establishing an international millet network.
Families could then make their way over to the Taylor Plaza for some berry-filled muffins, iced Tealeaves “Color of Biodiversity” tea, and other fruit snacks and refreshments. Once they were fueled for the rest of their journey, families climbed up to the Garden Pavilion to learn about Flowers and Things in Flight alongside the pavilion’s bird-friendly window art which was designed by Derek Tan, Beaty Biodiversity Museum Manager of Exhibitions and volunteer at the event! Here, kids could spin a wheel to select a button featuring Pacific Northwest animal, plant or insect species!
Hub 3: Photos and Flows
Once families were finished in the North Garden, they retraced their steps back to the shade of the Asian Garden and made their way over to the TreeWalk and the final learning hub. Families ascended through the forest canopy to get a bird’s eye view of the forest floor on the TreeWalk, and when they returned to solid ground, were able to get creative at our three stations; Watercolour and Waterways, Carbon and the Changing Climate Cycles in the Garden, and Say Trees: Making Memories in Nature.
Children (and the young at heart) painted beautiful watercolours, created leaf etchings with carbon, shared their wishes for the future of nature on our wishing tree, planted wildflower seeds and snapped a polaroid photo to take home!
The Biodiversity Days Celebration finished off on a high note this past week with two sold-out events at the UBC Farm — an evening Goth Butterfly Walk and an afternoon Pollinator Walk. 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 share this unforgettable adventure with even more families.
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. Biodiversity Days is made possible with funding provided through the UBC Botanical Garden Community Outreach Fund and the SEEDS Sustainability Program.
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!