CLIF Camp Day: NatureHood Contest Winners

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“I’m so excited!!” the 6-year-old beamed as she jumped round in her pink snow pants, brimming with anticipation. Brilliant and early, the primary household joined us at Rattlesnake Level Conservation Space in Milton, Ontario. Her mom, Manna, defined that Hazel didn’t have college yesterday and couldn’t cease daydreaming in regards to the CLIF Day camp we have been about to embark on collectively. Having simply moved to Canada a couple of years in the past from India, now was the chance to lastly expertise Hazel’s “want checklist” of nature actions.  

This yr, Nature Canada’s NatureHood program held a drawing competitors for youngsters with the help of CLIF Bar to encourage younger individuals to find and discover close by nature. The grand prize winners obtained the best reward – the reward of a day in nature.

As an environmental educator, partaking youth with the outside is a lot greater than enjoying exterior. For me, encouraging the subsequent era to kind a relationship with nature, irrespective of the season, is a direct type of local weather motion. For sure, I too, was excited to create a novel alternative for the households and an expertise that may be transformational for the youngsters. 

That morning, we set our intentions for the day which included drawing ‘peace’ and ‘inspiration’ from the land. It was great to have Elder Garry Sault to open the day with an Indigenous ceremony, and for him to share the historical past of the Mississaugas of the Credit score First Nation who’ve stewarded this land by means of the years. 

As I kicked the break day with icebreakers and video games, it could have appeared as if they have been merely enjoying within the snow, however actually, there was extra at play (pun unintended). They have been truly studying in regards to the bigger ecosystem that they’re linked to. In addition they realized about a wide range of meals chains that actively surrounded them on the very land we stood on. This was a reminder that though issues might not be in our view, the creatures we share this planet with coexist alongside us. 

No camp day can be full with out pitching a tent! The youngsters used their teamwork to set the tent up and shortly realized how necessary shelters have been for animals, because of the chilly winds that blew by. In addition they noticed this in motion after they went birding afterwards, with Brittany Vezina and Teagan Netten and observed that there have been no birds in sight out within the open wind. However, as we walked beneath the pine timber, we might hear them chirping. Very like the chickadees, the youngsters, Adeline, Selena, Hazel and their dad and mom have been in a position to expertise the heat that the timber supplied as a barrier to wind and snow. Because of their binoculars, in addition they noticed a Furry Woodpecker searching for meals on the fringe of the escarpment. These are the moments that nature reminds us how intelligently animals tailored to outlive the winter. 

They noticed James Morrison construct a fireplace utilizing solely parts from nature: a cattail, tree bark and firebow. Then, in fact they took the chance to roast marshmallows and luxuriate in some s’mores! The final hike of the day was led by Brian Ford, a botanist who brings the forest trails to life like no different naturalist! It was yet one more reminder for households that regardless of it being a time when individuals have a tendency to attach much less with nature, the forest may be very a lot energetic and the timber don’t want leaves to be the lifetime of the forest. 

As an educator, I’m always fascinated by what teachable moments will be drawn from their experiences. “Ought to I join this to the local weather disaster? Do the children know that these chilly, snow-covered trails will likely be rarer after they’re my age, residing in a hotter local weather? Do they know that we’re standing in one of many lushest components of the protected Greenbelt that’s at present beneath risk of growth by the provincial authorities?” These are the ideas that ran by means of my thoughts. 

However, as with all educating experiences, I left studying one thing from their excitement- which was to easily be current. Typically the very best factor we are able to do for nature is to BE immersed in it bodily and mentally. Nature is the very best trainer, and I do know that it’s these moments that foster a deeper connection to nature, and our want to advocate on its behalf. 

A giant because of CLIF Bar for his or her unimaginable help, to Vortex Canada for donating binoculars and to lululemon for donating winter attire to the households. Take a look at the sooner weblog to see the successful drawings and the total checklist of contest winners.



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