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Physically Distanced / Connected to Nature

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At the High Park Nature Centre (HPNC), we’re deeply aware of the importance of nature for maintaining people’s well-being. A walk along a tree-lined street, an outdoor meal in a neighbourhood park, or an adventure to the wide open green spaces outside the city can be therapeutic and help us to mentally and emotionally recharge.

The HPNC’s Clubs Coordinator, Kami Valkova, recently spoke to the Toronto Star about the importance of nature as a space for learning and encouraging connection through our senses. Read the article here!

The desire to support a connection with nature and to escape into local green spaces during difficult times has become increasingly apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to our friends over at Park People, we can see just how vital and in-demand green spaces and nature experiences are—now more than ever. Released earlier this month, Park People’s Canadian City Parks Report found that:

  • Almost three-quarters (70%) of Canadians said their appreciation for parks and green spaces has increased during COVID-19.
  • Nature experiences are in demand as 70% of cities reported increasing demand for park naturalization projects and 56% of cities reported increasing demand for volunteer stewardship opportunities.
  • During COVID-19, Canadians said that parks have become more important to their mental health (82%), physical health (72%), connection to nature (64%), and social connection (40%).

Through the early days of the pandemic, the HPNC team worked quickly and creatively to adapt our nature programming into an at-home/digital format to ensure that our mission to connect people to nature could continue through times of physical distancing. Now, as we follow the lead of local public health officials into the next stages of pandemic response, we are thrilled to have restarted our in-person offerings like Summer Camp for kids and High Park Staycations for families. Our at-home/digital nature experiences, like ReWild at Home, family-friendly Online Bat Chats, and Online Summer Camps for Kids, will also continue to be offered this summer!

As we move forward with COVID-19 recovery, many Canadians have expressed that they would like to be connected with more opportunities to experience natural spaces in parks (53%); and would like to move indoor events and activities outdoors into parks to better allow for physical distancing (e.g. recreation/fitness classes, arts/culture events, social gatherings) (51%).

The HPNC is determined to make these opportunities available for people of all ages while continuing to inspire wonder, knowledge, and respect for nature in beautiful High Park.

If you would like give us your thoughts on what nature programs we should offer in the coming seasons, please complete the following surveys:

Programs for Kids

Programs for Adults

Programs for teachers and Schools

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