The Cumberland Forest Education and Outreach Project was funded by the Comox Valley Community Foundation and Village of Cumberland with the goal of addressing human impacts in the Cumberland Community Forest and orienting users, particularly education and childcare programs to the Cumberland Community Forest Park and Park Policy in support of the Park’s health, sustainability, and resilience. These impacts have been exasperated by COVID, local population increases, and the increased interest in outdoor education activities on the part of local schools, private nature programs and pre school programs

Project Activities:

  1. Planning / Coordination

  1. Professional Development

  1. Resources Development / Updates

  1. Site Planning and 5. Site Work  

Our Impacts

The Cumberland Forest Education and Outreach Projects has had significant impacts on our community, and we are looking forward to amplifying these impacts going forward. These impacts include:

Students

We directly reached over 375 students and helped to orient them to the history (geological, indigenous, industrial) of the land, awareness of human impacts, ecosystem health, share the trail principals, new trail designations, share with nature principles and community action opportunities. We focused on ‘meeting kids where they are at’ and having curiosity about how they see and use the forest with their friends and families. This work deepened their connection to the Cumberland Community Forest which is a building block toward stewardship and action.

Teachers and Program Leaders

Our outreach and relationship building with local teachers and program leaders has been highly impactful. Over twenty-five program leaders have connected to this project and expressed that the knowledge has been hugely helpful and that they would like to continue this engagement. Some had skills and knowledge to share with our team and others had the opportunity to express that they felt like they were “flying blind” when they took kids out into the forest. Many expressed anxiety and confusion about policy, trail designations and code of conduct. We also noted a wide range of classroom management approaches through this project. This will help us in the design and updating of teacher resources.

Village of Cumberland

This project is impacting the Village of Cumberland through assisting them in meeting their park management objectives. With over 750 acres of parkland under their responsibility, the Village has significant work on their hands and partnerships are key to achieving trail and park management objectives. This project was able to activate education and outreach objectives and strengthen linkages between the Village, parks policy and local education providers. This will result in greater collaboration in the stewardship of this shared resources and lower human impacts that will result in the need for restoration or remediation.

Community at Large

This project has impacted the community through impacting the kids! One of the best ways to reach the community on issues related to the environment is through working with teachers, and kids which in turn reaches their families and family networks with inspiration and direct connection to the issues at hand. This project has activated awareness about human impact issues in the Cumberland Community Forest and has helped us to reach many new residents to begin to orient them to the Park and its important connection