This project brought together local agencies, organizations, academics, volunteers, and residents in the Rocky Harbour – Norris Point area for a Nature-Based Physical Literacy Summit in March of 2023. This was an opportunity to develop a pan-organizational vision and strategic plan for promoting and delivering nature-based outdoor recreational programs and experiences for youth, adults, and seniors. By providing more support to participate, improvements in health and wellness can result and can also be a catalyst to the adoption of active lifestyles.
“For the overall well-being of our province, it is critical to focus attention on facilitating connections with nature and outdoor physical activity throughout the lifespan, not just in childhood. The collective research is clear–time spent is nature contributes to physical, mental, and spiritual health, and we must act quickly to determine the most effective ways to improve nature-based physical literacy throughout the province. ”
Dr. TA Loeffler, Distinguished University Professor, MUN
The summit invitees shared their interests and expertise in valuing nature, providing barrier-free access to outdoor sport and recreation, improving mental and physical health, accessing National parks, securing funding, and encouraging lifelong physical activity. This summit provided the opportunity for multiple agencies, organizations, and individuals to gather for the first time to collaboratively accomplish the following: (1) share current nature-based outdoor activity programming initiatives (2) discuss challenges/barriers to participation and (3) explore practical collaborative programming and delivery opportunities.
The Bonne Bay Marine Station in Norris Point was the location for the Summit given its strategic location and role in the region. The summit has been a catalyst that has kickstarted an engaged cross-agency committee to continue to work towards a sustainable Nature Based Physical Literacy Program offered in the Gros Morne region which will ultimately lead to co-op work placement opportunities for students in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation (HKR) and potential graduate research opportunities in HKR and with other health-related faculties.
Amusement, gambling and recreation industries Health care and social assistance
Ambulatory health care services Educational services