There is a new program that can teach about plant life and critters from the comfort of their home. Sur le balcon is run by Montreal-based GUEPE (Groupe uni des éducateurs-naturalistes et professionnels en environnement). This non-profit organization offers educational and professional services in natural and environmental sciences to young people and the public.
Discover nature close to home
While the organization’s public activities and family outings have been put on hold during COVID-19, it has kept kids and families engaged with nature through free fact sheets. “The program began during the first wave of the pandemic,” said Jennifer Marchand, GUEPE Communications Lead. “Our naturalists wanted to continue their education mission and introduce people to nature, around their homes, as we were all confined.”
So anyone curious about discovering biodiversity and nature in the neighbourhoods surrounding their home can create their own nature field guide. Available in French only, downloadable fact sheets are full of interesting information about the insects, animals, and plants who thrive around us.
Did you know the Song Sparrow (Bruant chanteur) — who can be seen fluttering about in shrubs and trees all around Montreal — can sing up to 300 times per day? And if you’re lucky to spot a Praying Mantis (Mante religieuse) you may be surprised when it turns its head to look over its shoulder at you. No other insect can do so.
Fact Sheets and Videos
You can find new fact sheets almost weekly on the GUEPE website, where you’ll also see a selection of videos produced by their educator-naturalists. These videos are full of tips on how to best observe wildlife and discover nature close to home.
Grab a sketchbook, binoculars or a magnifying glass, and your best walking shoes to see who and what you can find just outside your door.
You can find all of its programs at guepe.qc.ca or follow their facebook page for news and upcoming events.