What is NatureHood?
Your NatureHood is nature right in your neighbourhood—from the biggest cities to the smallest communities. It’s nearby nature: the park at the end of your street, your backyard, a tree on your street, a community garden plot, an overlooked urban forest, or a special green space in your community. Your NatureHood is any place where you ‘connect’ with nature’s wonders—from watching a bee pollinate a flower, to feeding wild birds, to witnessing the trees change with the passing of the seasons.
Addressing barriers to accessing nature
The goal of our NatureHood program is to connect urban residents, particularly young people and their families, to nearby nature. The program is a response to society’s growing disconnect from nature, and an acknowledgement that many complex barriers limit people’s access to nature. This includes factors such as distance, inequitable distribution of green space, lack of knowledge, cost, lack of equipment, cultural perceptions of nature spaces, and racialization of communities. Spending time in nature should be a right, but it is instead a privilege. It is critical that we work to address those barriers for a more inclusive and equitable outdoors.
The NatureHood program works with partner organizations across the country to address barriers to nature through programs, events, and activities built on exploration, celebration, education, stewardship, and nature observation. Nature’s wonders are waiting right outside your door, peeking through the sidewalk cracks!
Connecting to nature to restore ourselves
Another driver behind the NatureHood program is getting everyone—especially young people—outside and active near to where they live.
Canadians are more sedentary than ever, which is having an impact on our physical and mental health. Kids are replacing outdoor play time in nature with indoor time on screens, and many are not meeting their daily requirements for physical activity. What better way to be active than to get outside and into nature?
No conversation about the benefits of getting out into nature is complete without mention of mental health. Studies show that people not only feel calmer and more relaxed when they’re in nature, andt that simply being in close proximity to a green space can improve a sense of well-being in urban office workers. Some medical professionals even go so far as to prescribe nature to their patients. The NatureHood program and its partners takes this evidence into account as we deliver activities to help young people connect to nearby nature.
Keep up-to-date with NatureHood news and find resources to help you and your family enjoy, discover, and connect with nearby nature.
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Thanks to ECCC for their financial support!
Nature Canada is pleased to support and collaborate with the following organizations: