Logo: Canadian Committee for the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Last January, I had the pleasure to listen to young people from across Canada sharing their ideas on what it means for youth to connect to nature. They were gathered at the Canadian Museum of Nature to participate in the Canadian Committee for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (CC IUCN) Annual General Meeting.

They talked about obstacles such as youth apathy and lifestyle. For example, North American youth spend 90% of their time indoors, and seven hours a day, on average, in front of a screen. (Source: Connecting Canadians with Nature).

But more importantly, the youth delegates to the meeting also talked about wonderful examples of their experience of engaging youth with nature. Examples ranged from simple actions such as planting trees, to more formal programs such as

Participants at the meeting were also tasked with brainstorming ideas on what the CC IUCN can do to advance a youth and nature agenda in Canada. Fast-forward to August, and one of those recommendations is now coming to fruition.

A group photo in our fossil gallery.
Participants in the workshop Engaging Canadians: Inspiring the New Generation. It was held during the CC IUCN Annual General Meeting in January 2014 at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Image: Ian Davidson © Nature Canada

Youth Ambassadors Wanted
Through the leadership of CC IUCN board members Elyse Curley and Shailyn Drukis, the CC IUCN is seeking two volunteers (19–29 years old) to become Youth Ambassadors.

A group photo in our fossil gallery.
Image: Ian Davidson © Nature Canada

Successful applicants will receive $2500 in funding towards attending the IUCN World Parks Congress that will be held November 12–19, 2014, in Sydney, Australia.

A kangaroo hops through a landscape.
Flinders Ranges National Park, Australia. Image: Kathleen Conlan © Canadian Museum of Nature

The Youth Ambassadors will also work with the CC IUCN over the coming year on initiatives to connect youth to nature before, during and after the IUCN World Parks Congress.

For more information on the Youth Ambassador role and to apply:

About the IUCN
The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization. Its vision is a just world that values and conserves nature. Its mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

About the CC IUCN
Canada’s national committee, the Canadian Committee for IUCN was formed as a not-for-profit corporation in 1992. The Canadian Museum of Nature was one of the original members of the CC IUCN and has hosted the CC IUCN Secretariat from its inception.

The objectives of the CC IUCN are to provide a focus for its members to support IUCN by

  • promoting the mission, objectives and program of IUCN in Canada and internationally
  • stimulating and fostering the conservation of nature and natural resources and their sustainable utilization in Canada and internationally
  • mobilizing scientific and other advice and experience in the service of conservation in Canada and internationally.