Our connection to nature

Kids in nature (Photo by NCC)

Kids in nature (Photo by NCC)

June 25, 2020 | by Dan Kraus

“Go outside and play.”

I can still hear my grandmother saying these words to me when I was a little kid. I bet you’ve heard this a few times yourself. Maybe you’ve even said it to your own kids.

The truth is, “go outside” is old, deep wisdom. My grandmother innately understood that spending time in nature would improve my mood, boost my concentration and spark my creativity.

But for the first time in our lives, many of us were asked to stay inside. When parks and conservation lands were closed to the public, there was a collective longing to get outside and connect with our natural world.

It’s undeniably an uncertain time; even in the short gap between when I’m writing this and when you’re reading it, things may have changed dramatically. As someone who cares deeply about our natural spaces, I’m sure you’re feeling as eager as I am to connect with nature.

Although we may not be able to experience the outside world the way we want to, there’s something we can do together right now to protect nature and all it gives us. Right in your own backyard or balcony, there’s an opportunity to support wildlife and deepen your connection to nature. The next time you look out a window, or take a walk in the neighbourhood, commit to learning about the other species that share our spaces. You could even contribute to citizen science by logging your observations in apps like iNaturalist.

There are lots of ways to connect with nature right at home. Check out the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) digital resources page containing documentaries, conservation 101s, DIY projects and more.

While communities across the country slowly begin to reopen, many of us are now beginning to explore parks, trails and natural spaces while respecting our provincial physical distancing guidelines. While we adapt to the new normal, nature continues to be there for us.

Wetlands are filtering drinking water and holding back floods. Trees are purifying our air and shading our streets and homes. In communities across Canada, migratory birds have returned, wildflowers are blooming and many animals are preparing for their next generation.

We’re reminded that we need nature now more than ever, and that hope is always blossoming around the corner.

If there’s a silver lining to our current situation, it may be that this time of physical distancing is an opportunity to renew our connections to the people and natural areas we love. Maybe you’re finding that a slower-paced world makes it easier to tune into the sights and sounds outside your window: birds chirping at dawn, or the breeze rustling through the leaves on quieter nights. 

Our connection to nature is as old as humanity. Finding and strengthening those bonds make us healthier and happier human beings. Thanks to your ongoing support, nature is waiting for us to reconnect.

Dan Kraus

About the Author

Dan Kraus Biologiste de la conservation à l'échelle nationale

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