Mental health benefits of the outdoors

Today’s post comes from Sarah McMichael, Ontario Parks’ Healthy Parks Healthy People Coordinator.

Do you ever find yourself feeling calmer, more relaxed, or more focussed after spending time in nature? That’s because time outside has studied and proven benefits for your mental health.

Mental illness affects one in five Canadians in any given year. This World Mental Health Day, let’s talk about what some Vitamin N (nature) can do for your mental health.

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Accessible locations to view fall colours

As the cold weather hits, opportunities to view a stunning array of fall colours are popping up around the province.

Ontario Parks is committed to making our parks as accessible as possible for visitors. If you’re planning a trip, we’ve rounded up a list of parks with accessibility features that are perfect for viewing the beauty of fall.

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Learning in the forest at MacGregor Point

When you think back to your childhood, what are some of your best memories?

Likely a lot of them involved playing and exploring in the outdoors.

Unfortunately, many children today don’t get this opportunity. Kids are often kept indoors by electronics and other distractions. They miss out on the developmental benefits of outdoor play.

This is where forest school comes in. Forest school combines nature with education for the ultimate outdoor learning experience.

Since September 2017, MacGregor Point Provincial Park has hosted Saugeen Shores Forest School, the first forest school in an Ontario provincial park.

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Healing in the forest: a guide to forest bathing

Let’s take a walk in the woods.

With no specific destination in mind, we will wander, observe and immerse ourselves in nature. Allow our senses to guide us.

When was the last time you walked into the woods with no plans? No final destination? Without a species to ID, hill to climb, or lookout to conquer?

This is exactly the experience offered by a forest bathing session.

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My experience completing the 30×30 Challenge

This blog comes from Lily Carlson, a travel blogger and social media influencer at Lily’s Lens on Life

“Spending time in nature has a way of nurturing the soul”

– Katrina Mayer

Ever since I was a little girl, the great outdoors has been tied to so many incredible memories, including hiking with friends, swimming in the lake with my cousins, fishing with my grandparents. Heck, I even worked at summer camps for nine years throughout high school and university. So, naturally (pun intended), the 30×30 Challenge sounded right up my alley!

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The transformative power of nature at Killbear

This post comes from Kaitlyn-Lee Mun, one of our wonderful summer students at Killbear Provincial Park.

“I’m going to Killbear for the summer.”

“Cool…where’s that?”

This was the response I was usually met with when telling my family and friends where I was going for the summer.

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Listening to nature’s music

Today’s post comes from Kyra Santin, a Natural Heritage Education and Marketing Student from our Northwest Zone. 

George Santayana — poet, philosopher and naturalist — said, “The Earth has music for those who listen.”

The earth holds a lot of beauty within it. If we open our eyes and ears, and listen to the world that surrounds us, we can truly appreciate the music the earth is making.

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How to keep your brain healthy this summer

Summer is without a doubt the best time to get outside and play. There’s so much to do like hiking, cycling, or paddling.

It is also the perfect time to take charge of our brain health. We often hear that being active is great for our heart and muscles, but let’s not forget what it can do for our brain. Exercise helps protect our brain cells and encourages the growth of new ones by boosting levels of growth factors called neurotrophins.

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Connecting new Canadians to the outdoors with NatureLink

At Ontario Parks, we believe that nature is for everybody.

In honour of Healthy Parks Healthy People, we wanted to create opportunities for new audiences to experience the amazing natural spaces in Ontario.

That’s why we partnered with Parkbus to offer two NatureLink programs on this year’s free day (July 20, 2018). Here is the story of how two groups of new Canadians got to experience Ontario Parks for the very first time.

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Get outside with ActiveDays

This blog post comes from Walker Kitchens, coordinator of the ActiveDays program. 

Are you taking the 30×30 Challenge this August? Need a way to get your nature time in?

In honour of the challenge, Parkbus is offering three ActiveDays throughout the month of August to get you moving in the outdoors.

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