Ontarians are being asked to spend more time outdoors, enjoying the beauty of the province and develop healthier 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.
Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, said: “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.”
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.
If you’re looking for a change of scenery, the Ontario Parks locator tool makes it easy to find a provincial park nearby. Enjoy hiking, biking, paddling and lots of outdoor programmes.
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.
- 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.