Re-Imagining the NHC 2021 Survey Synopsis

In anticipation of the Natural History Centre’s reopening, we invited the community to help imagine our new Centre. We heard from eighty people in response. Below is a summary of some of your thoughts and ideas. In response to the question about your ideas for the new NHC, and the types of stories you’d like to see shared, there was a strong response of interest in First Nations history (told by First Nations People) and environmental advocacy. A big thanks to everyone who participated.

It has been three years since our exhibit space was open. What was your overall impression/experience of the Centre?

87 percent of respondents rated the Natural History Centre between “very good” and “outstanding”.

What did you value most about the Natural History Centre?

Our original collection of local fossils, marine life, insects, birds, bones, geology and hands-on activities was used as a resource to learn about the natural environment for fifteen years. Please indicate your top two favourite exhibits.

What kind of programming would you like to see in our new Natural History Centre?

When might you visit the new Natural History Centre or take part in a program?

Here are a few of the many comments we received:

“The programming has been excellent providing education and fostering a respect for the natural world:
I.e. Stressing human relations within nature (community) and the wonder of interconnectedness (found
in nature) alongside more pragmatic stewardship. How we humans can learn from nature. How
indigenous cultures were keepers of the land and sea, long before settlers arrived on Hornby, is
something that is necessary to understand and communicate related to the above.”

“I think it would important to see Indigenous histories of Hornby featured, and to situate the Centre on
whose traditional territories we occupy. Hopefully this could be through collaboration with local host
nations such as the K’ómoks First Nation. As well, I think it would be really interesting to feature the
ways that living sustainably has long been part of the ethos of the Hornby community (from different
forms of water collection, to building materials, to growing food, composting toilets, to stewardship
initiatives, to the recycling depot, to community celebrations etc.). How has an appreciation for the
natural world formed the Hornby community? Why do we all find it so special to be on Hornby? Could
there be an oral history project with elders on the Island to document these very special parts of
Hornby? How has the natural world influenced the artists of the Island, and informed their material
practices? I would love to learn more about native plants as well within the exhibit (although, now I
remember this has long been a component of the ethno-botanical garden, so it is already covered!). I
love the Centre because it has given me a richer sense of the landscape we are in, and who else lives
here (trees, birds, ocean creatures, plants, etc.). Very excited to see this continued in so many ways.”

“Accurate information of those who were here before settlers FROM those whose ancestors were here
before us. Impacts of climate change and emergency we face to change our relationship to the planet.”

“The history of fossils and the understanding of past life on earth. And the new fossil species discoveries
that are being made every year.”

“Role of herring in marine ecosystems. Advocacy for marine conservation in and around Hornby. Effects
of climate change on sea levels, forest evolution and summer droughts.”

“I think that it is very important that the school kids continue to be able to have our natural history centre as a resource for learning. It will be wonderful to have it going once again.”

“Liked the drawing table — used by adults as well as kids! It gave people a chance to give a creative
response to the displays, rather than just passively absorbing information.”

“How about a day each month of spring – summer to hold a festival showcasing some aspect of natural life on Hornby: e.g., Slug Fest, Kept Caper, Owl Hootenay, Cedar Carnival, Amphibian Antics, Raven Rave, Possum
Slow Dance, etc., etc.”

“Thank you to all those that are involved! It’s so inspiring to witness the care for the natural world on Hornby and how thoughtfully all is being considered in order to share this care with the community and visitors.”

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