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Celebrate Canada’s Parks Day!
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Celebrate Canada’s Parks Day!

[caption id="attachment_37287" align="alignleft" width="150"] Jill Sturdy, NatureHood Program Manager.[/caption] There are so many reasons to spend time outdoors and explore in nature. It’s a great way to connect with nature and learn about local biodiversity. There is more and more research exposing the physical and mental health benefits of spending time in nature. Simply put, exploring nature is good for you and good for your soul. What’s more is you don’t need to go far to get into nature. In fact, our NatureHood program is all about that: exploring nature right where you live. Watch and listen to the birds in your neighbourhood. How many species can you identify? Early morning is the best time, as that’s when birds are most active. Find out how you can attract birds and other wildlife to your yard – it can be as simple as planting native flowers to attract butterflies. Learn more about ways you can be a good neighbor to wildlife here. Another way to get out into nature is to go for a hike at your local nature trails. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the plants you shouldn’t touch! Hint: poison ivy thrives along trail edges – another good reason to stick to the trails! Summer is also a great time to venture out a little farther and explore our beautiful parks! Saturday, July 21 is Canada’s Parks Day – a day to celebrate our parks and all that they have to offer. Depending where you live in the country, you won’t have to go far to get to a park.

Summer is short so get out and explore! What’s your favourite nature-based activity?


Here are just a couple of examples of park initiatives happening next weekend: Healthy by Nature is an initiative developed by the BC Parks Foundation. They are promoting Parks Day by encouraging people to join a family-friendly walk in one of BC’s provincial parks on July 21st. Healthy Parks Healthy People is an initiative developed by Ontario Parks to promote the link between a healthy environment and healthy society. On Friday, July 20, ALL of Ontario provincial parks will offer FREE day-use to encourage Ontarians to explore a provincial park near them.
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Canada’s Parks Day and the Benefits of Being in Nature
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Canada’s Parks Day and the Benefits of Being in Nature

According to Statistics Canada, as of  2011, more than 80% of Canadians today live in urban areas. While the amenities of big-city life are a significant draw, the benefits of spending time in nature, for both children and adults, are unquestionable. children-forest-hikeGetting children out in nature is crucial to their growth. It enriches both their mental and physical development and well-being. Spending time outdoors and performing activities that engage with the natural world has been shown to increase attention spans, cultivate creativity, and plant a desire to learn through exploration. A 2009 study found that children who spend time in green parks exhibit lower levels of symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In addition, being outdoors is good for physical fitness. Recreational activities like walking, running, and spontaneous play (like throwing a ball), can lead to a lower likelihood of developing chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes. Further, a longitudinal study performed in Southern California found that proximity to parks results in lower obesity rates among children. The benefits of nature extend to adulthood in numerous and diverse ways. Chronic stress leads to poorer sleep, headaches, obesity, hypertension, decreased immunity, and can eventually result in dangerous ailments such as heart disease and stroke. But the tension can be countered by taking in the sights and sounds of green spaces. And this doesn't mean a three-hour drive to the mountains. Apparently, merely having a window forest view can be enough to lower stress in the workplace! In addition, a 2015 study at Stanford University found that adults who walked for 90 minutes in a natural area, as opposed to a congested urban zone, had decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression. Another benefit of being in nature is improved cognitive ability. Spending time in green areas helps clear our heads, refocus, and also improves our memory. Research shows that even patients with dementia have decreased symptoms when exposed to gardens and horticultural activities. canada-parks-passWith these findings in mind, take care of yourself and your loved ones by taking it outside. Canada's Parks Day—and the rest of the summer—is yours for the taking! For 2017, admission is free to all national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas operated by Parks Canada. You can order your pass online or pick one up at MEC, CIBC branches, and various partner organizations near you—see this official list of locations by province. To help you make a destination decision, review this complete Parks Canada list of all the free sites, which you can limit by province. There are also many outdoor activities to consider in the city. Enjoy a contemplative walk or a bike ride along a waterway, a good book under the trees, a picnic by the lake, birdwatching from your porch, or a bug scavenger hunt with your children. The options are endless! We hope you enjoy this year’s Canada’s Parks Day and we would love to hear about your adventures!

Canadian Conservation Work Serves as a Role Model
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Canadian Conservation Work Serves as a Role Model

The World Parks Congress took place this past week in Sydney, Australia. This is the world’s largest event that brings focus to parks and protected areas around the globe. So how is Canada’s conservation different from everyone else? It is because Canada is home to a rare treasure, one of the largest still intact regions left - the boreal forest. Here is a short list of the top five reason’s Canada stands out in conservation: 1) One of the World’s Last Great Primary Forest: Canada’s boreal forest has an area of 1.2 billion intact acres, and it contains 25% of the world’s primary forests. There are more that 300 bird species, as well as being home to many large mammals such as grizzle bears and moose. The boreal forest even has an estimate of more than 208 billion tonnes of carbon stored, making it an important part of our ecosystem. 2) Indigenous Conservation Leadership Canada’s boreal forest has had some impressive conservation gains from those in Indigenous communities and government. These Indigenous communities have been the ones to launch some of the most signification conservations actions in relation to the boreal forest. 3) Very Large Protected Areas The protected areas in the boreal forest are large and they are important in the northern biodiversity. They allow species to roam without barriers and serve as a key habitat for long-distant migratory animals. 4) Provincial Government Vision and Leadership Our provincial government in both Ontario and Quebec has pledged to ensure that at least half of their northern lands are classified as protected areas. 5) Industry and Conservation Leaders Several industries have joined the First Nations along with Nature Canada and other leading conservation non-profits to come together in supporting the need of conservation in the boreal forest. Through a number of councils and frameworks, these groups have established a working relationship in order to advance on future conservation proposals. Canada is putting forth tremendous conservation efforts to protect the boreal forest and it’s time to celebrate that. To read more on Nature Canada’s conservation efforts in the boreal forest, click here. For the full article, click here.

Canada’s Coolest School Trip Contest video!
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Canada’s Coolest School Trip Contest video!

Learn more about how to enter your grade 8 class to win this all-expenses paid trip!

[button link="http://naturecanada.ca/initiatives/my-parks-pass/canadas-coolest-school-trip-contest/" size="large" target="_self" color="alternative-1" lightbox="false"]Canada's Coolest School Trip Contest[/button]

Grade 8/secondary 2 classes can enter to win an all-inclusive trip to La Mauricie National Park
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Grade 8/secondary 2 classes can enter to win an all-inclusive trip to La Mauricie National Park

Nature Canada is proud to announce the start of this year’s Canada’s Coolest School Trip contest. Any grade 8/secondary 2 class can enter to win the grand prize which includes a four-day all-expenses-paid trip to La Mauricie National Park and to historic sites of Québec City, including Lévis Forts, the Fortifications, Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux, Montmorency Park, the Québec Garrison Club and Artillery Park Heritage Site.

The lucky grand-prize winners will canoe and hike through the breathtaking wilderness of La Mauricie National Park and glimpse the life of a soldier as they travel back in time at Lévis Forts National Historic Site. To finish things off, they will dine at the exclusive Québec Garrison Club National Historic Site and explore the rich history of the only remaining fortified city north of Mexico. There are many other great prizes to win, including three runner-up local field trips and gift packages for five honorable mentions.

To enter the contest, grade 8/secondary 2 classes must pick a Parks Canada place and make a one-minute video on why it’s extraordinary and important to Canadians.

Contest entries will be accepted online at www.myparkspass.ca from September 29, 2014 to February 23, 2015. The contest is open to all grade 8 or secondary 2 classes.

My Parks Pass is a collaborative program between Nature Canada, Parks Canada, Canadian Geographic Education, Canadian Wildlife Federation and Historica Canada. My Parks Pass strives to promote lasting relationships between young Canadians and Canada’s treasured places by inviting youth to experiences Parks Canada places first-hand.

Nature Canada applauds Turmel’s proposed bill protecting Gatineau Park
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Nature Canada applauds Turmel’s proposed bill protecting Gatineau Park

March 7, 2014 (Ottawa) – Nature Canada will be present on Parliament Hill today to signal our strong support for NDP MP Nycole Turmel’s private member’s bill protecting Gatineau Park. Gatineau Park is both a local and national treasure right here in the heart of the National Capital Region and it is badly in need of this kind of protection. Nature Canada is adamant in its support for Bill C-565, which would protect the park’s biodiversity for future generations by, among other things, conferring legal protections and prohibiting the sale of public land that makes up the park. -30- [one_half][separator headline="h2" title="About Nature Canada:"] Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Over the past 75 years, we’ve helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and the countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, we represent a network of over 45,000 members & supporters and more than 350 nature organizations in every province across Canada. Our mission is to protect and conserve nature in Canada by engaging Canadians and by advocating on behalf of nature. [/one_half] [one_half_last][separator headline="h2" title="Media contacts:"] Monica Tanaka, Communications Coordinator, Nature Canada 613-562-3447 ext 241 mtanaka@naturecanada.ca [/one_half_last]

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