Closure of Natural Resources Education Center about efficiencies, collaboration, DNRR says

DNRR photo.

MIDDLE MUSQUODOBOIT: The closing of the Natural Resources Education Center (NREC) at the end of the summer is being made to improve workforce collaboration and efficiency, a spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables said.

Residents in Middle Musquodoboit had heard the NREC would be closing and became concerned of losing its valuable education for those in the Musquodoboit Valley and across NS A few made posts on social media site Facebook voicing their disappointment in its closure.

Erin Lynch, with the department, said they recognized the Natural Resources Education Center was enjoyed by many over the years.

“While the center will be closing, there are no staff lay-offs and many of the activities it offers are available in other areas,” said Lynch in an interview with The Laker News. .

The two affected staff were informed of the change on June 14.

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Lynch said the change was made to improve workforce collaboration and efficiency and to provide a less isolated work environment for staff. Staff currently spend an estimated 50% of their time on facility maintenance and upkeep, aging facilities, and structures.

“Staff will now be able to focus 100% of their time on outreach programs, using their professional skills and abilities to deliver high-quality educational initiatives,” she said.

Examples of outreach programs include learning about wildlife, forestry, insects, biodiversity, and species at risk, through seeing and experiencing these in nature.

She said the change would take place in September 2023 and the building would revert back to the Halifax Regional Center for Education use and control. It is owned by the HRCE.

The Nature Learning Play Space, McCurdy, and Chaswood woodlots remain with the Department.

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The Chaswood facility will continue to be available for groups and overnight rentals, and trails will be maintained for public use.

“The Musquodoboit Valley Education Center and High School will be able to continue to use the play space and trails as part of their outdoor programming and classrooms,” said Lynch.

She said the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, located 30km from Middle Musquodoboit, offers both onsite and offsite programs to schools. The Wildlife Park has more than 100,000 visitors annually and provincial parks have more than 1.5 million visitors annually.

“With this change, there will be more exposure to schools and the public visiting wildlife parks and expanding opportunities in provincial parks,” Lynch said.

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