The Vancouver Park Board has already started work to “rewild” Vancouver so the city can become not only the greenest, but the most ecologically literate on earth.
The rewilding work is among the recommendations in “Rewilding Vancouver: From Sustaining to Flourishing”, an action plan to encourage and enable people to more fully relate and connect to the natural world.
The action plan recommends three priorities:
- Special wild places in the city
- Nature in everyday life
- Meaningful Park Board leadership
The plan contains 49 actions for the Park Board and partner organizations to work toward over the next five years. The ambitious plan was produced by the Environmental Education and Stewardship Task Force and working groups made up of community organizations and supported by Park Board and City staff.
The 16-member Task Force, along with two working groups, worked through the winter and spring of 2014 to understand existing environmental education and stewardship assets, partnerships, and programs in the Park Board.
The plan was unanimously approved by the Board at a July 21 meeting. Quick starts already underway include:
- Identifying 28 unique biodiversity hot spots on public and private lands such as: Stanley Park forest, Fraserview Golf Course, Spanish Banks, Renfrew Ravine, Habitat Island, and Avalon Pond in Everett Crowley Park
- Developing a program called “Reflect Effect,” which helps youth use creative media as a tool for exploring environmental themes and projects
- Exploring the feasibility of using Park Board facilities to provide outdoor environmental education; a Greenest City Scholar from the University of British Columbia is researching the topic this summer
- Supporting pollinators by reducing mowing in pilot locations, providing wildflower seed to community gardens and other partners, and developing and sharing educational materials
“The task force believes that every Vancouver resident should be able to witness the magic of seeing salmon in their local stream, whales in the harbour, and eagles above them. We hope residents will help make this possible and join the call to rewild Vancouver,” said Park Board Commissioner Niki Sharma who co-chaired the task force with Commissioner Sarah Blyth.
J.B. Mackinnon, author of “The Once and Future World” and coauthor of “The 100-Mile Diet”, a bestseller that is widely credited as a catalyst of the local foods movement, says “by rewilding Vancouver, we will create a city that is not only more resilient, but also more exciting, more fascinating, more magical to live in – wilder in every sense of the word.”
The Task Force supports the ambitious goal of the Park Board and City of Vancouver to become the greenest city in the world, including ensuring that everyone lives within a five-minute walk of a green space.
The creation of the first Environmental Education and Stewardship Action Plan also brings together many aspects of the Park Board Strategic Plan.
The action plan also builds on the strong partnerships that the Park Board has with community organizations working to provide more opportunities for people to learn about and experience nature in the city.
One with nature via shutterstock