When most people think of Canada, it’s our wilderness and vast natural spaces that come to mind. Nature is one of our country’s most beloved and defining characteristics. Many cherished childhood memories involve countless hours outdoors – at a lake, on a beach, in a forest, a meadow or a local park – playing and dreaming. As adults, we know that when we need to re-charge, we find ourselves drawn to the natural areas around us. Even after only a short walk in a local park or greenspace, we feel refreshed, more focused, calmer and more relaxed. There is a growing body of evidence to support what we have always known instinctively: spending time in nature has proven benefits for our mental health and overall wellbeing. Research has shown a link between exposure to nature and benefits like a reduction in levels of stress, anxiety, depression, muscle tension and blood pressure. Nature also boosts endorphin levels and dopamine production, which promotes happiness.
Even though we can’t be far from home right now, there are still ways for us to get our nature on! Our backyards and balconies, local parks and greenspaces can all provide us with our daily dose of vitamin N. There are also some excellent virtual ways to connect with nature from the comfort of our homes. Check out the list below:
1. Go on a virtual hike to some of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC) stunning properties thanks to Google Trekker.
2. Plan your next trip! Discover Parks Canada parks using Google Street View and their 360 video gallery.
3. Birds Canada: Get involved in Citizen Science. Check out all the ways you can help monitor birds in your area, even from the comfort of your window.
4. Join guest speaker Jody Allair from Birds Canada on the American Birding Podcast to learn about the benefits of birding in your own backyard: Healthy at Home, Birding.
5. Family Fun from Nature Canada: Can You Find These 6 Things In Your Nearby Nature?
6. Check out all the amazing live webcams on Explore.org; there’s a wildlife webcam for everyone!
7. If you’re interested in wildlife volunteering, check out these 10 international virtual opportunities. One might be right for you!