February Dialogue 2007
In February 2007, the Kesho Trust, in cooperation with Mountain Equipment Co-op, Royal Roads University, and the University of Victoria, sponsored a dialogue focused on finding ways to significantly expand the engagement of children with nature in BC.
Richard Louv, the inspiration for the initiative, highlighted the thesis of his latest book, Last Child in the Woods, at a public talk held on February 20th at the University of Victoria. His challenge was to find ways amidst growing pressures of fear, structured time, and artificial environments, to ensure that today’s generation have the opportunities to find their special places in nature and experience their own special sense of wonder that comes from exploring the natural world.
Over the following two days, more than 50 invited practitioners met at Royal Roads University to take up the challenge that Richard Louv articulated and formulated ideas on what actions could be implemented throughout British Columbia. Participants came from many different organizations and backgrounds, all with a keen interest in engaging children and families with nature. Download a PDF summary of the event. Her Honour Iona Campagnolo, Lieutenant Governor of BC, hosted a dinner and conversation during the workshop. Her passion and commitment to the ideas under discussion were obvious in her remarks to the participants. Read her speech here.
The key organizers and contact people for the event were:
- Bob Peart The Kesho Trust
- Dr. Richard Kool School of Environment & Sustainability Royal Roads University
- Dr. Eric Higgs School of Environmental Studies University of Victoria
- Peter Robinson Executive Director Mountain Equipment Co-op
Many other organizations and groups participated in the event and are strong supporters of the initiative. Two such supporters are of special note: Silken’s Active Kids, spearheaded by Silken Laumann: Her participation at the workshop and commitment to get children and families engaged in outside play puts a national and community focus on the issue in a way few organizations can.
Bateman Art and Environmental Education Center (BAEEC): Although unable to attend the event himself Robert Bateman was represented at the gathering by his daughter, Sarah. The goals of his foundation and that of the Nature Child Reunion initiative align significantly.