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Collaborating for a more nature-connected Canada

“No one will protect what they don’t care about. And no one will care about what they have never experienced.”
-David Attenborough

Camping in Killarney with my family.
That's me on the right!

Many of us who care about the environment do so because we have a connection with nature. Whether this connection began in childhood or later in life, we can likely pinpoint an experience or place that left us feeling emotionally alive, serene, or bewildered by the outdoors. For me, it was spending my summers paddling, swimming and stargazing in Killarney Provincial Park in Ontario. It was here, as a young child, that I realized I was a small piece of something much larger.

At CPAWS, we have long praised the benefits that Canada’s parks provide to Canadians, from ensuring the health of our ecosystems to promoting economic growth. However, parks also play an ever-important role in the lives of Canadians that often goes unnoticed.

In an increasingly urbanized Canada where not everyone is familiar with our natural world, parks ensure something that is simple but powerful: that there are spaces set aside for Canadians to connect with nature. We have more and more Canadians moving to urban centers, we have the second largest immigrant population in the world, and we spend an average of 90% of our time inside (often in front of some type of screen). For our spiritual, mental and physical health, we desperately need natural places set aside and opportunities to connect with these places.

That’s why CPAWS was delighted to see the recent report , “Connecting Canadians to Nature”, released by parks agencies from across Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Parks Council. Ministers from federal, provincial and territorial parks came together to highlight the importance of connecting Canadians to our parks, but more importantly their commitment to ensure this happens through collaborative leadership.

It is incredibly promising to see moves like this being made across the country. Between this report and a variety of programs across Canada that work to connect people to nature, the movement is picking up speed. We can’t wait to see more people across the country connecting with nature through our parks and other wild spaces. The benefits are endless, and will hopefully lead to more passionate conservationists along the way!