Connecting kids to nature
Olivia McLaughlin at Bunchberry Meadows (Photo by Brent Calver)
Molly Dube was the 2019 communications intern for the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) Alberta Region. She is currently studying natural resource conservation at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Molly is passionate about Canadian conservation and environmental protection. Her goal is to communicate conservation information in a way that will get people excited, inspired to learn more and take action.
Nature is so important for our well-being. There seems to be a new article or study rolling out every day that really drives home the fact that being out in nature makes you happier, healthier and calmer. Kids in particular are spending less time outside than ever before, and it’s having an impact.
Kids who spend time outside are more confident, creative, responsible and better able to handle stress than those who don’t. Being out in nature is good for both the mind and the body. It’s an active experience, and moving your body more lowers the risk of certain health conditions that can occur later in life.
Building a strong connection with and love for nature when you’re young sets the foundation for continuing a healthy lifestyle into adulthood. Playing outdoors gives kids the space to grow their appreciation for nature. Luckily, there are lots of options and incredible nature spaces just waiting to be enjoyed.
Alongside the health boost gained from being outside, nature activities are a great way to connect and create some amazing family memories. There are so many outdoor activities to do as a family. In the summer,you can enjoy nature scavenger hunts, hiking, camping and wildlife viewing, and in the winter, there’s cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and even winter birdwatching! It’s incredible how many little critters you can find if you bring a magnifying glass with you.
It’s easy to talk about getting yourself and your family outside, but how do you actually go about it? Here are a couple of ways the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) can help:
NCC’s Conservation Volunteers (CV) program is a chance to connect and learn about nature in the most effective way: by getting your hands dirty! Although most of our CV events stop during the winter, sign up for our newsletter and get notified once the spring calendar is posted. Come participate in one of our many upcoming family-friendly events and enjoy the health benefits of volunteering outside.
Another great way to connect kids with nature is to visit one of NCC’s many Nature Destinations. These stunning natural areas are open year-round for foot access and offer lots of opportunities for adventure.
It’s never too early to get your kids excited about nature; they have one of the most beautiful and interesting backyards in the world to explore.
The Conservation Internship Program is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Summer Work Experience program.