Connecting with nature has lots of benefits.
It keeps us healthy by lowering our blood pressure and strengthening our immune system. It reduces our stress levels and keeps us physically fit.
It’s good for our emotional wellbeing too. Children who play in natural environments are more resilient and develop skills for dealing with stress later in life.
Parks provide unparalleled natural classrooms and recreation opportunities for people of all ages.
And now there’s a new initiative – developed jointly by federal, provincial and territorial governments – that focuses on the importance nature plays in our lives. Ministers responsible for parks across the country recently met in Ontario to finalize the Connecting Canadians with Nature report, which was co-ordinated through the Canadian Parks Council.
The report builds on what Ontario Parks is already doing.
Last year Ontario Parks offered more than 1,000 nature programs for 37,000 children. In addition, provincial parks offered nature-based education programs for more than 800 school groups and 20,000 children.
And Mom and Dad aren’t left out. Ontario Parks provide adult education programs as well.
Ontario Parks offers Learn to Camp and Learn to Fish programs, which introduce city dwellers to these great outdoor activities and encourages them to become life-long park users.
Many parks offer recreational opportunities and facilities to meet the needs of mature park visitors and people with disabilities, such as yurts, cabins, accessible comfort stations, campsites and trails.
Also, Ontario and seven not-for-profit partners have launched the Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter to help children across the province develop a life-long connection with nature.
So, visit a park and connect with nature!