MEDIA ADVISORY: uOttawa-led youth social justice project results in Ottawa World Migratory Bird Day Festival

A flock of birds
Recognizing the mental health benefits of nature and building on the foundation of her doctoral work at the University of Ottawa – which focused on the intersections of citizenship education and arts-based education – Joan Harrison, a part-time professor in the Faculty of Education, decided, with the help of education students and a grant from NatureHood Canada, to launch a nature-based after-school program for racialized and Black youth aged 6 to 12 at the Britannia Woods Community House on the west end of Ottawa.

“This project is an outgrowth of my 2013 thesis where I explored ways that youth can learn to be change makers in society which, in turn, can help bring a sense of well-being,” said Joan Harrison. “After taking the youth into nature and using music, crafts, and dance to learn about birds and some of the obstacles they face during their migration, we explored ways they could actively help birds survive,” added Harrison. “With enthusiasm from the youth, we approached volunteers within the university and the community of nature lovers and created the Ottawa World Migratory Bird Day Festival! This is a powerful example to youth and others that anybody can use their own initiative to create positive change in society.”

What: Ottawa World Migratory Bird Day Festival

Who: Joan Harrison, part-time professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa.

When: Saturday, May 14, 2022, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre, 102 Greenview Avenue, Ottawa (Britannia Beach and Park)

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