Innovation in Sustainability: Natural Areas

When’s the last time you went out and really appreciated one of Edmonton’s parks or natural areas? They’re so abundant in Edmonton that we often take them for granted. Our River Valley alone, the largest municipally owned urban park in North America, stretches over 7,400 hectares and includes 22 parks, 11 lakes and 14 ravines located that are all connected by a network of over 150 kilometres of trails. Plus, as of 2011, Edmonton had almost 3,900 hectares of protected natural areas.

However, for some people, back in their home city or country, parks may be limited, or even overshadowed by dangers. This is the case with some of Edmonton’s Sudanese immigrants, who associate natural areas in their home country with dangerous animals, poisonous plants and menacing gangs.  

Joseph Luri, who is himself from South Sudan, understands the concerns of new immigrants, and endeavours to educate them about Edmonton’s safe green areas. Armed with the Edmonton Urban BioKit (an interactive guide to Exploring Edmonton’s natural areas), Joseph has led small groups on field trips to help them understand the joy that can be found in nature (birds being one of his favourites), environmental responsibility and preservation, and of course the safety of Edmonton’s green spaces.

In the video below, hear Joseph discuss what Edmonton’s green spaces mean to him and why he is so passionate about getting people involved in nature.

This video is the first in our “Innovation in Sustainability” series which will be running throughout October. The series showcases Edmontonians sharing their stories about how they are living the City’s “The Way We Green” initiatives.