My name is Jewel Baggs. I’m Team Leader on the Paradise Green Team. This is my first summer working with the Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador. I have an interest in nature and preserving wild spaces, so it has been a pleasure to work for an organization that focuses on conservation and environmental issues. I am a graduate of the Recreation program offered at Memorial University and am planning on taking information I have learned over the summer into my field of work.
My name is Chloe Soper. I’m a Team Member on the Paradise Green Team working with Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador. I am an International Baccalaureate student at Holy Heart of Mary High School. It has been a great experience working with Conservation Corps NL and learning about environmental issues.
The Town of Paradise Green Team spent the summer researching the most effective garden planning, local vegetation, native plants, native animals, outdoor classrooms, free little library, and created community engagement activities like fairy gardens and animal scavenger hunts. Throughout the course of the summer, we partnered with the Paradise Department of Recreation and Community Services to create community engagement activities and complete research for a community garden.
We worked with the Paradise Department of Recreation and Community Services to encourage increased appreciation of green spaces in the community, as well as encouraging residents to enjoy local trails. Engagement activities that we have developed have been nature-based, such as the Fairy Gardens in Neils Pond, or the Animal Scavenger Hunt in Octagon Pond. These activities encourage outdoor recreation and learning opportunities so that both youth and adults learn to further appreciate our earth.
A major component to our summer has been research. A few of the topics of our research include; local vegetation; native plants; garden maintenance; sustainable gardening; outdoor classrooms; bat boxes; and outdoor little libraries. This information has been made accessible to the Paradise Department of Recreation and Community Services to be used in the development of a new community garden. While researching how to set up a community, we also looked into grants, sustainability and affordability, including rain barrels, companion planting, and integrated pest management.
Through this research we learned so much! Did you know dandelions are not native to Newfoundland? Or that American Robins get darker the further North East you go in North America? That means that Newfoundland and Labrador has the darkest robins, how cool is that?
Our research has also made us more engaged in the local vegetation. As we were setting up our Fairy Gardens in Neils Pond we happened to notice the Ghost Plant. The Ghost Plant is so special due to the fact it has no chlorophyll, and no chlorophyll means no photosynthesis. The Ghost Plant survives in specific locations, such as dark areas next to fungi and trees, because it relies on their nutrients. Although the plant looks like a fungus it is in fact a perennial plant.
Community engagement has also been a main focus throughout our project. As part of our duties with the CCNL Green Team program, we completed various Environmental Awareness Events for children’s summer camps in the community. One of our favorite activities was the Animal Scavenger Hunt, during which we shared interesting facts about different animals that thrive in the Newfoundland ecosystem.
By helping to create educational resources for the Town, we have come to understand that accessible, digestible, and engaging information is an important part of the environmental field. We have also learned professional skills, such as work ethic, and developed independence within our roles. We also developed time management and flexibility as our project developed. We hope that the community can utilize this research for future projects, and we hope to see an environmentally conscious and sustainable future for the Town of Paradise.