Education and research have been two key components of MUN Botanical Gardens mission statement since its inception in 1971. Before the Garden was officially opened to the public in 1977, staff and volunteers had been hard at work digging flower gardens, building nature trails, and revegetating the natural area, which was still badly scarred from a devastating fire of 1962. Work was often hindered by the discovery of an abandoned landfill, house foundation, septic tank and the occasional car wreck.
In 1971, despite the fact that the grounds were anything but beautiful and the field centre was still just a dream, a curriculum-based school visit program was conceived. School children and their teachers started what has now grown to a tradition of visiting the Botanical Garden every spring and fall, to enhance the learning in the classroom and to assist teachers in the presentation of the Newfoundland and Labrador school curriculum. Programs for youth groups, such as the Girl Guides and Boy Scouts were soon to follow. At the same time, local groups, such as the Newfoundland Horticultural Society and Nature Newfoundland and Labrador worked with and contributed to the Garden, establishing relationships that are strong to this day.
Over the years, our links to the community have continued to grow strong. Workshops in gardening, Newfoundland natural history, conservation and art have been offered by Garden staff, volunteers and local experts. These programs are as popular today as they were over 30 years ago. Indeed, the Sunday Morning Birdwatch program, led by volunteer Dr. Howard Clase, President of the Friends of the Garden, originated before the Garden officially came to be, making Howard our most senior teacher. Howard generously passes on his knowledge each season, assisting with the training of MUN students employed at the Garden in the areas of education, research, visitor services, grounds maintenance, gardening and more.
This year, a full schedule of workshops, lectures, hikes and tours is planned. Every Sunday, rain or shine, families are invited to hike a nature trail with education staff, watch a puppet show, play games, and create crafts while learning about our local natural history. The popular Parent & Tot program will be expanded to six sessions this spring and fall. The highly popular Junior Naturalist program will operate daily during the summer. Special events such as our Senior's Day, Open House, Doors Open and Potato Festival entertain and educate hundreds of people, while assisting such worthwhile causes as the Community Food Sharing Association.
In 2005, our link to the community has expanded not only to our vast province, but to the world! Thanks to the financial assistance of the "Partnership for Plants in Canada" program, developed in partnership with Botanic Gardens Conservation International and HSBC Holdings, the Garden has created this new website. The Newfoundland and Labrador Native Plant Biodiversity Hub concentrates on our local flora, with a focus on biodiversity and plant conservation. Further links to other organizations performing similar work is also a component. It is our hope that through our new website, our research and educational activities and concepts will be accessible to all. Be sure to check back to this site periodically, as we will continue to update and expand our content on a regular basis.
MUN Botanical Garden
Environmental Education Sites of Interest