Study looks for Liverpool youth who have gone rural

Nick
Nick Moase
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We hear many stories of young people moving out of communities, but not many of those who move to them. 

Over the coming months Masters student Meggie MacMichael is looking for those stories of young people who have come Liverpool for her thesis on the Motivations, Experiences and Contributions of Young People who have moved into rural communities in Nova Scotia.

MacMichael says she picked the topic because she has always had an interest in rural communities and what it takes to make them vibrant and sustainable. She is from rural Nova Scotia herself, growing up in Debert.

MacMichael took her undergraduate degree in geography, where she took a keen interest in courses on rural planning, policy and community sustainability. Now she is doing her Masters in Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University

"I became more and more passionate about the subject, and when I was starting my masters that's when the Ivany Report was released," she says.

The Ivany Report was release earlier this year, and it outlined action needed to make Nova Scotia prosperous again.

MacMichael also attended the Georgetown Conference in 2013, which focused on developing rural sustainability in the Maritimes.

MacMichael had heard the same narrative that many of us have heard before: that young people were leaving communities and that a solution was needed. She wants to hear the other side of that story, from the few that moved back to those communities.

"The few that are doing opposite of this trend and moving into rural communities and what are they experiencing."

To find those communities, MacMichael set a list of criteria such as a community under 5,000 and one that was not a suburb or bedroom community of the Halifax Regional Municipality. Liverpool fit the bill, along with about a half dozen others.

"One of the biggest things that helped me decide is I reached out to a number of these communities, and in Liverpool I spoke to a number of people that were really excited to help out," she says.

The other community she is looking at is Maitland in East Hants.

MacMichael says it will be interesting to see the comparisons and contrast between the two communities. Maitland for example is smaller and more agricultural based than Liverpool.

To gather her information, MacMichael is looking at two groups to speak with. The first are key informants, those who can tell her about Liverpool, its history and the politics among other things.

The second is young people in their 20's who have moved to Liverpool in the last five years. Ideally she is looking for 10 participants, who will participate in focus groups to talk about why they came to Liverpool and what their experiences have been after coming here.

Once the interviews are done, MacMicheal says she'll need to study what was said to see if there are any overall themes that come forward. That information will be put together for her thesis in the form of several papers she hopes will be publishable in journals.

Though MacMicheal says she won't be able to solve the problem on her own, she hopes it will help communities think about how to bring young people back into their communities.

"I hope that it will add to this exciting movement spurred by the Ivany report that we need to do something in this province to make sure our communities are vibrant and sustainable."

She plans on passing her findings on to the relevant government departments and give the information to the communities she studied.

Those that fit the criteria for young people can contact MacMichael at mfmacmichael@gmail.com or 902-210-3573.

 

Organizations: Dalhousie University, Halifax Regional Municipality

Geographic location: Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Debert Georgetown East Hants

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