March 5, 2013

[Halifax, NS] - Dalhousie University students and staff are partnering with community members to get involved with nature. David Foster, an undergraduate student in biology and sustainability is organizing a study to better understand trends in biodiversity in various parts of the HRM, while increasing community involvement in nature and science.


The project, called HRM Diverse, makes the science of ecology transparent and accessible to a non-ecologist. It is a collaborative effort between Dalhousie and the Sierra Club Canada.


“The study is all about understanding the wildlife around us in urban environments,” explains Mr. Foster. “We experience wildlife every day here in Halifax, but many people either don’t have the time to understand and appreciate it, or, don’t recognize its importance in their everyday city lives.”


HRM Diverse involves comparing different areas around the city using ecological field study methods to obtain the necessary information. Public involvement is encouraged through the use of identification guides, making participation possible with no experience necessary. Through participation, volunteers are learning the skills and techniques used by ecologists to study environments, and are gaining an appreciation of the variety of nature around them.


“You don’t have to leave the city to feel in touch with nature,” says Gretchen Fitzgerald, director of the Sierra Club Canada Atlantic Canada Chapter. “Parks like Point Pleasant or the Dartmouth Commons offer a great chance for an urban population to relieve stress, improve attention and relax.”


While parks offer an escape from cityscapes, Dr. Bill Freedman, ecologist and professor at Dalhousie University suggests homeowners take another approach as well. “A homeowner can have a tremendous effect on urban biodiversity simply by making room on their property for plants native to the region.”


HRM Diverse hosts weekly field studies in various parts of the HRM. All members of the public are welcome. No experience is necessary; all that is required is curiosity about nature and willingness to spend some time learning. More details about each study can be found on the group’s facebook page at facebook.com/HRMDiverse.





For more information, please contact:

David Foster

Tel: (c) 902-880-8712

Email: fosterd3@gmail.com


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