Canada-Brooksdale

BC, Canada

Our Field Study Centre in South Surrey, BC is located at Brooksdale Environmental Centre, a 27-acre heritage estate located on the Little Campbell River and a 40-minute drive from Vancouver International Airport. It is roughly three kilometres from Semiahmoo Bay, part of the Boundary Bay Important Bird Area.

The Brooksdale Environmental Centre offers a three-month Internship Program over three terms a year (February, May, September). Interns are invited to apply for one or multiple terms, and participate in community life, receive quality teaching on a variety of topics related to faith and environmental stewardship, and instruction and experience in their internship concentration area. Internships are available in Sustainable Agriculture, Environmental Education, Conservation Science or Hospitality. Annual term dates, current rates, and program details can be found at the A Rocha Canada internship page.

To apply, please fill out A Rocha Canada’s internship application form.

Watch the story of an A Rocha intern

Forest_watchers_covidRelief

A Rocha India and the COVID crisis

You will have seen ongoing reports from India where a crisis of historic proportions continues to unfold. The A Rocha India team have not only lost close personal friends, but several have themselves been seriously unwell with COVID-19. Medical infrastructure in Bangalore, where the centre is located, has completely collapsed and daily deaths in the area run to the hundreds.

The team are doing night-time elephant patrols to reduce crop raiding as most Forest Officers are not working, and many have been impacted by Covid. Villagers are now to a great extent dependent on A Rocha for prevention of human-elephant conflict, which has grown worse as wildlife has gained confidence during lockdown.

A Rocha India has also responded to the request to undertake Covid relief work by local government. Avinash Krishnan, who heads up A Rocha India, writes, ‘We are actively campaigning to meet the needs of people and help save lives. I am hoping this call for humanity will render justice in serving the needy through the work of A Rocha India.’

Throughout this terrible time, A Rocha India’s relationship with the local community and government has been strengthened and their reputation enhanced. Please pray this will bear fruit in their ability to carry out impactful work in the years to come.

Read more of A Rocha India’s work during the pandemic.

Photo: Distributing relief supplies to frontline staff of the Karnataka Forest Department. (A Rocha India)

Audrey pruning roses at Mekse Nature Park

A Rocha Lebanon – a new chapter

Maintenance on the maze at Qab Elias Environmental Project

Colin and Audrey Gibson did not require much persuasion when they were asked last year to join A Rocha Lebanon as National Director and Engagement Officer respectively. ‘It was perfect timing too as our work with another Lebanese NGO had come to a natural end,’ explains Colin. ‘It is a joy to use my environmental experience and skills in project management and fundraising and for Audrey to develop her passion for outdoor education. 

A Rocha Lebanon’s current conservation work is at a formerly barren 3.5 hectare site where we are working in partnership with the local municipality of Mekse – a town in the fertile Bekaa Valley which was once the ‘bread basket’ of the Eastern Roman Empire. It is good to see that wildlife is already returning as a result of work over the past few years: tree planting and the creation of a pond. We plan to complete the tree planting and are consulting with some local partners about developing a community garden to grow organic fruit and vegetables. We are also looking into how best to achieve the long term sustainability of the site, perhaps through other income generation opportunities such as beekeeping. 

Audrey is busy planning educational activities, mostly that children can do at home, as schools have been closed or are operating online. Ideas include a scavenger hunt and nature detective challenge – linking to our Wild Lebanon website – simple ideas to get children outside and enjoying nature. 

We also hope to produce some resources for churches on creation care in Arabic and we are currently trying to develop partnerships, both locally and regionally, to take this work forward. 

However, we have to be flexible with our plans, as Lebanon is in the midst of a political and economic crisis. This is causing great hardship for many and we are very mindful of this as we engage communities in nature conservation.’ 

Manaaki-Ao-Stream-ecology

Connecting kids with nature

‘A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.’ – Oliver Wendell Holmes

For the past 10 years, the Karioi Project has been offering young people aged 6 – 18 the opportunity to connect with nature, their community and themselves. Through hands-on activities and games, kids become familiar and comfortable with a variety of ecosystems and skills.

The younger groups learn to build survival huts in the bush, trap predators that threaten New Zealand’s incredible native wildlife and start fires with flint and steel. At low tide, they discuss the lives of sea-stars and crabs that inhabit the salty pools at the world-famous surf spots in Raglan. Becoming aware of the role of dunes in preventing erosion leads students to encourage friends, family, and even strangers not to walk through this fragile habitat in an effort to conserve plant and animal life. The students often develop an appreciation and love for a variety of habitats and, in turn, become stewards. Older students learn more practical conservation skills such as predator control and monitoring, mapping with GPS and navigating with a compass.

Karioi participants meet many superstars of their community, including world-famous kite flyers, kayak instructors, ecologists and surfers. They explore ecosystems that might be new, or discovered from a different perspective. Many students come back term after term for the changing activities and growing friendships. The programme uniquely combines youth from five different schools, and youth that might live on the same street but have never met. By learning and playing together, the students develop confidence trying and perfecting new skills and expand their curiosity while engaging with the natural world, and develop their resilience to face whatever comes.