Reconnecting with nature, each other and ourselves

Exploring Yoho National Park (Photo by Kayla Burak/NCC staff)

Exploring Yoho National Park (Photo by Kayla Burak/NCC staff)

January 1, 2020 | by Kayla Burak

There are many benefits to working for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), but one of the more recently announced benefits might be my favourite: two paid nature days.

When this new perk was announced, I’ll admit my first thought was that these were just two extra days that we could tack on to our regular vacation days — I’m sure we would go outside at some point anyhow, so that’s good enough for a nature day! As NCC staff, we are fortunate to spend a lot of time outside anyway. That’s good enough, right? Wrong!

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Kayla and Mike Burak enjoying a nature day (Photo by Kayla Burak/NCC staff)

Kayla and Mike Burak enjoying a nature day (Photo by Kayla Burak/NCC staff)

My husband (Mike Burak) and I both work for NCC. I am an engagement manager and he is the program director for southwest Saskatchewan. Even though we are outside much of the time for work, our minds are inundated with schedules and to-do lists, plus we’re rarely outside together. And now that we have a daughter, time spent outside with just the two of us is a rarity.

This summer we decided to make the most of our nature days. We dropped our daughter off with my parents in Alberta (we love her, but it was time for some space!), found a charming little B&B just outside of Golden, British Columbia, and explored our faces off. We spent our nature days exploring Glacier and Yoho national parks and every little trail and viewpoint in between.

We get so busy that it seems too difficult or even impossible to plan holidays and time out in nature. Something always comes up, and we push things back because it can happen later. But time in nature never seems to “happen later.”

After experiencing our first holiday alone in nature since we had our daughter, I can genuinely say that it won’t take two paid days a year to make sure that we do this at least once a year together. The time and solace found in being in nature with no distractions is irreplaceable, and I hold these memories dear to my heart.

Sometimes it takes a little push to make these plans and take time away. We forget how lucky we are that we have nature spaces right in our backyard and across the country to explore.

Get inspired, make plans and put them first — put yourself first!

Kayla Burak (Photo courtesy of Kayla Burak)

About the Author

Kayla Burak is the engagement manager for the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Saskatchewan region.

Read more about Kayla Burak.

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