Going Wild for Parks, Naturally

By Rylie Arnell, Summer Engagement Intern

It’s no secret that over the last several decades, people have become increasingly distanced from the sources of their most basic necessities, and more importantly, from nature itself. With this disconnection comes disengagement, and a dwindling sense of responsibility for our communities, and for our environment. Spending time outside has been proven to combat this sense of disconnect, and contribute positively to physical health and mental wellbeing.  This is a huge reason why, on Saturday, July 18th CPAWS BC joined thousands of nature-happy people from across the country to get outside and celebrate our parks and wild spaces!

Photo: Wells Grey Provincial Park, Ally Stocks

We decided to raise a glass to the outdoors on Parks Day this year for the vital role they play in human health and ecological well-being. Although this celebration didn’t come with streamers, balloons, or cake - what it did provide was even better; a blanket of dew over the grass on an early coastal morning, crisp forest air, the buzz of a bee gathering nectar, a breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains reaching up to touch the sky and valleys swooping down low to dip their feet into the ocean. We decided to remove ourselves from the hustle and bustle of city life on that sunny Saturday, and to bring as many people along for the ride as we could. Our aim was simple: to spend time in the natural places that we love so dearly, but that probably don’t hear us say it enough.

On Parks Day, CPAWS BC made a conscious decision to lead and take part in activities that highlighted the important role that all parks play in maintaining healthy and resilient ecosystems and contribute to human health and well-being - by simply spending time immersed in them. We had Wild Ambassadors from all over the province lead free, public events in places such as Fernie Mountain, Wells Grey Provincial Park, and the Comox Valley Region, just to name a few. Our ambassadors took participants outside and aimed to reaffirm our intrinsic connection to nature; to teach empathy and compassion for the places that we depend on for our well-being.

Photo: Mount ​Fernie, Maureen Nadeau

In addition to leading outdoor events across the province, CPAWS BC hosted a social media contest to see what makes British Columbians get outside, and go wild for parks! We received amazing pictures from individuals from all around the province who showed us where, and what they love most about BC’s parks. We randomly selected 3 winners who received awesome prizes including a coffee pack from Ethical Bean, 6 passes to Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tours, a family pass to the Harbour Centre and a $100.00 gift certificate to Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery! On behalf of CPAWS-BC, and our parks, thank you for sharing the places you love, and why it is so important to work hard to protect them.

Till next Parks Day, keep going wild for parks, naturally.

P.S. Parks Day also saw the launch of a new CPAWS-BC video, donated to us by digital design students from Vancouver Film School, and the Sails of Light at Canada Place lit green in honour of  Parks Day. Have you had a chance to check them out?

Photo: Maureen Nadeau