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Connecting Youth to Nature: Exploring the Plausibility of a Nation-Wide Youth Conservation Program for Canada

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Title: Connecting Youth to Nature: Exploring the Plausibility of a Nation-Wide Youth Conservation Program for Canada
Author: Thomas, Megan
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Landscape Architecture
Advisor: Kelly, Sean
Abstract: Canada’s national parks are faced with the dual-mandate of providing recreational opportunities without compromising ecological integrity. In an era of unprecedented global environmental change and excessive electronic attachment, today’s youth are experiencing disconnect from nature. At the same time, parks are challenged with malefic financial constraints and limited human resources. Though independent issues, this study sought to find an integrated solution by exploring the plausibility of a sustainable conservation program that provides opportunity for both youth and Canadian parks through an untapped workforce. Strengths of the U.S. based Student Conservation Association were embraced to develop criteria to analyze additional youth engagement programs. Review of literature and key informant interviews framed programmatic recommendations that inform development of a nation-wide youth conservation program suitable for the Canadian context. Through hands-on service to the land, the experience could foster Canada’s next generation of environmental stewards serving, and ultimately protecting, Canada’s park system.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/9682
Date: 2016-05


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