“Auntie Lynn” hosts Humber Arboretum nature walk

Apr 10, 2024 | Campus News

Lynn Short, the Arboretum’s Environmental Stewardship Coordinator, took staff and students out on an educational nature walk on Wednesday.

Short, said that walks like this could help with developing a relationship with the land which would help people to care about the environment more.

“I think that once you get to know you all our relatives (from an Indigenous perspective, plants, animals, and all of nature’s creations are part of our larger family of life), and you start to get to know them and see them change, you develop a relationship with them that can go beyond just the walk in the woods,” she said.

Lynn short pointing at a 200 year old tree in a forest

Lynn short talks about her favorite Tree in the forest at the Arboretum, it is over 200 years old. Photo credit: David Madureira

Short said one of the ways of observing the environment that was taught to her by an Mi’kmaq elder called Albert Marshall was called ‘Two-eyed seeing’ which is taking into account both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives when looking at the environment.

“‘Two-eyed seeing’, is the idea that we’re all here together,” she said. ” You’re seeing with two eyes; you’re not saying one is better than the other; they are both valid,” Short said.

She also said that Indigenous perspectives could help people to see more clearly the environment that they live in.

“Indigenous peoples regard themselves as one of the family of all the animals and the plants. They’re all our relatives. You would never be unkind to an aunt or a mother or a cousin and if you regard the plants in that way, if you have that perspective, then you’re bound to be more caring about how you walk in the outdoors,” Short said.

During the walk she and some of the people picked up the garbage that littered the ground around the Arboretum. Short said that littering is showing a disconnect to the land from an Indigenous perspective.

A turtle at the Arboretum sits out in the sun next to a discarded Beer bottle

Litter is a problem at the Arboretum and the walk had many signs of trash around but not all of it can be picked up as seen with this beer bottle. Photo credit: David Madureira

Joaquin Varela, an outdoor educator for the Arboretum, attended the walk. Nature walks like this, he said, can help nurture a respect for the earth.

“These types of events are great for educating people and letting people know what they’re looking at. Maybe they could start to appreciate nature more and they can do things like conserve it or, maybe change their habits that are damaging the environment,” he said.

A Red Admiral Butterfly sits on some flowers at the arboretum

red admiral butterflies are common at this season in the Arboretum and the flowers provide them with an important resource Photo credit: David Madureira

Varela says that Humber should do more events like this that invite the wider Humber community to participate.

Louise Zimanyi in the Early Childhood Education Program also participated in the walk. If you are out in nature, she said, then you are already closer to seeing the Indigenous perspective than you may think.

“Already if you’re coming out into the Arboretum and you’re seeing what’s alive, like the frogs and the turtles, already you are connecting to ‘All Our Relations’,” Zimanyi said. “If you’re already connecting to nature, you’re one step ahead.”

Lynn Short said that part of getting people involved in the environment is just showing them what’s there and seeing what they do with that knowledge.

“I think part of it is just allowing them to see what they can see, and maybe make some connection, give them opportunities to make those connections, and see where it goes from there,” she said.