Time Spent in Natural Settings Has Positive Impact on Mental and Physical Health
“Spending time in one of Ontario’s beautiful provincial parks is a wonderful way to connect with nature and stay healthy. But there are also many natural settings in your own neighbourhood. I encourage all Ontarians to get out to any natural setting and to take up the 30×30 Nature challenge.” — Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
A Message from Ontario’s Liberal Government
Posted July 25th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
(A Brief Foreword Note from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper – This is a good message from Ontario Natural Resources Minister Kathryn McGarry and her government.
But finding natural settings residents in Niagara, Ontario can connect with may become even more challenging if McGarry and her government do not soon do something about a Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority with executive administrators and members of a board – many of which are elected councilors appointed by their fellow Niagara regional councillors – who have compromised the NPCA’s historic mission further away from nature conservation and closer to allowing ever more brick and mortar development on what is left of the region’s green spaces.
How much longer is the Ontario government going to deflect Niagara residents’ concerns about the current activities of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority by telling them the NPCA falls under regional and local government jurisdiction, only to have regional politicians tell residents that they have no jurisidiction over the NPCA either? When is some level of government going to take responsibility for this so-called Conservation Authority and stop saying ‘No’ to residents who ask for an independent, value for dollar audit of the more than $8 million annually of our tax money this body is awarded to spend?
These questions and concerns come from citizens at a time when the NPCA has expressed interest in applying something called “biodiversity offsetting” – code for bulldozing over – provincially significant wetland in Niagara Falls – an old-growth wetland the NPCA’s current board chair claims can be duplicated somewhere else in five years.
All of this to make way for a China-funded ‘Paradise-Thundering Waters’ development project in Niagara Falls, Ontario on hundreds of acres of land hosting forest and wetlands – a project Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne highlighted as a win for the province during a business trip she took to China in November of last year.
So it is good for the provincial government to talk about what a positive experience it is for Ontario residents to connect with natural settings in and around their communities. But what is the provincial government going to do to ensure what is left of these natural settings are not bulldozed away with the support of a “Conservation Authority” that gives every appearance of being in bed with developers?)
Queen’s Park, Ontario – The Ontario government and Ontario Parks are challenging people across the province to spend more time in nature and develop new healthy habits.
Inspired by the David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 Challenge, the Ontario Parks 30×30 Nature Challenge encourages people to spend at least 30 minutes per day in nature for 30 days. This year’s challenge begins in August.
Spending time outside each day will help to form a beneficial new habit that supports a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that interacting with nature is good for both physical and mental health, from reducing stress and strengthening the immune system to reducing the risk of certain types of cancer and lowering blood pressure.
The 30×30 Nature Challenge doesn’t have to take a lot of time and planning. Nature isn’t that far away – there are provincial parks all across Ontario. But it’s also right in your backyard. Green space can be as close as your neighbourhood park or garden. You can check out local trails and beaches, too – they may even lie along your daily route.
Here are just some of the ways you can get outside for the 30×30 Challenge this August:
- Bring your family to the Learn to Fish event at Balsam Lake.
- Perfect your howl at Algonquin‘s wolf howls.
- Take a guided ghost walk at Bronte Creek.
- Learn some kayak basics at Frontenac.
- Become a citizen scientist by participating in the Summer Loon Count at Killarney.
- Go stargazing at Halfway Lake‘s Star Party, hosted by the Sudbury Astronomy Club.
Finding more time for nature is easy and it can really pay off when it comes to your health!
- There are more than 330 provincial parks in Ontario, perfect for fun and healthy activities.
- Ontario Parks supports the link between a healthy environment and healthy society through Healthy Parks, Healthy People and the 30×30 Challenge.
- The Healthy Parks Healthy People movement evolved from the international Health Parks, Healthy People Congress in 2010. Its goal is to maintain global momentum towards better understanding the links between nature and human health.
- In 2015, Ontario’s provincial parks received more than 9.8 million visits from people around the world and brought in over $80 million in revenue, which supports jobs and businesses across the province.
NOW IT IS YOUR TURN. Niagara At Large encourages you to share your views on this post. A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who share their first and last name with them.
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