Thunder Bay Public Library and Science North Inspire Interest in Nature

The Thunder Bay Public Library (Mary J.L. Black Branch) and Science North are collaborating to bring a new experience to Thunder Bay—Northern Nature Trading.

Thanks to funding from the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor) and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), Northern Nature Trading experiences are being installed in six northern communities.


The Northern Nature Trading experience is based on a model that currently exists at Science North’s Dynamic Earth, through the Rockhound Lab, and at Science North, through the Nature Exchange. Visitors are encouraged to bring in their own items from nature and trade for other natural items that can be found in the constantly changing collection at the centre, which may feature items such as:

shells – augers, cowry, olive, periwinkle
rocks and polished stones – agate, amethyst, garnet, jasper, sodalite, tiger eye
plant parts – cones, acorns, driftwood, twigs, pressed leaves and flower petals
fossils – amber, ammonite, nautiloids, shark teeth

The goal of each Northern Nature Trading experience is to motivate people of all ages to be inspired with the science in the world around them. Learning as much information as they can about an item, and sharing that information with the staff will give visitors the opportunity to rack up points. The points can then be used to add new items to their own collection, or banked for use at a later date.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for residents and visitors of all ages to learn more about the scientific world around us and our unique environment here in Thunder Bay,” said Mayor Keith Hobbs. “I am proud to congratulate Thunder Bay Public Library and Science North on this unique attraction and new asset.”

John Pateman, Chief Librarian/CEO for Thunder Bay Public Library said, “The Northern Nature Trading experience is another fine example of how the Thunder Bay Public Library is partnering with organizations to turn libraries into community hubs. This new initiative will help to promote curiosity and lifelong learning and will also encourage interaction between community members and visitors. We look forward to being inspired by nature and to a long and fruitful relationship with Science North’s new attraction.”

Science North currently has more than 50,000 registered Traders. Northern Nature Trading experiences are now also available in North Bay, Kenora and Red Lake. Future locations of additional Northern Nature Trading experiences will be announced at a later date.

The Northern Nature Trading is located at the Mary J.L. Black Library Commons Room, and will be open the following hours:

Tuesdays: 6 pm – 9 pm
Wednesdays: 2 pm – 5 pm
Saturdays: 2 pm – 4 pm

For more information visit