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Nine Local Wonders!

People protect what they care about, and care about what they know and experience! This is paraphrased from a well-known naturalist, David Attenborough, and we have experienced it to be true. Connections to natural spaces are very important in fostering sustainable choices!

Here in BC, it is important to remember that we have so many beautiful, easy-to-access ‘wild’ places, either nestled in the urban environment or minutes out of town.

Don't forget to feed your mind, body, and soul by taking advantage of these places and bringing your kids, nieces and nephews, co-workers, elders, friends and neighbours into these wild local places. Time spent in nature is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of well-being. So get out there!

 A 2017 Coleman Canada report found that 64% of Canadians surveyed spend less than two hours a week in natural places.[1]  We want to support our community in doing better than that!

Today’s teachers are increasingly seeking opportunities for their students to foster connections to local places, which is greatly needed for ecological learning.  This is an important topic in Be The Change’s curriculum, and we encourage teachers to pair in-class work with connecting to local and natural spaces.

So on our Ninth Day of Giving, we’re sharing some of our most cherished natural wonders from around Metro Vancouver, through personal memories or connections to these places.  If Metro Van isn’t the place you call home, don’t hesitate to explore and share the natural wonders that your own hometown has to offer – there will surely be many!

Click each location title to learn more about the place!

  

 

Riverfront Park walk, Vancouver

“The Riverfront walk has a special place in my heart as it’s one of the first natural environments that I explored when I moved to Vancouver. I was amazed by how peaceful it is despite its proximity to busy South East Marine Drive, and I was delighted when I saw a hummingbird and a bald eagle during one of my after-work walks – where else in the world can you experience such amazing natural diversity in the heart of the city?” 

Deer Lake Park, Burnaby

 “One of my favourite dates thus far was paddling out onto Deer Lake in a canoe during a concert, with pizza and wine, and listening to the concert from the boat while watching the evening waterfowl as the sun set. In my opinion, I’d take an outing here over an evening out at a fancy restaurant any day! When I lived in Burnaby, this was also an amazing place to go running through the trails… besides the fact that I often got distracted by the wildlife and views and ended with a less consistent longer run. ”

Brunswick Beach, West Vancouver

“I love going down to Brunswick Beach at the weekend and escaping the demands of everyday life. I remember the first time I visited: getting off the little community bus and walking past a railway track and a collection of houses, and then suddenly emerging onto this incredible expanse of forested shoreline and ocean, with seals lolling in the water and the only sounds being the cries of seabirds and circling eagles, and the steady wash of the waves. A true natural wonder.”  

Widgeon Slough, Pitt Meadows

“This is an amazing place to take beginner paddlers out and teach them wilderness camping skills. I have taken nieces and nephews under 10 here many times, along with friends and outdoor education groups. We’ve had beavers swim under our boats, paddled among spawning salmon, been stuck in Widgeon Creek when the tide went out, and have been stalked by a pack of raccoons here. Widgeon always provides a unique experience, and has canoe rentals right there!”   

The Sanctuary at Hastings Park, Vancouver

“In the summer, there is a local farmers market one day a week beside Hastings Park. One day after getting some local bounty, I was drawn in to do a slow wander back through the park. I was attracted to stopping in this forested area and after a minute or two of being there, I noticed I wasn’t alone! A beautiful Bobcat was in the bush beside me. We hung out together a few moments, and then went along with our day.”

Wreck Beach, Vancouver

“When I need to feel more in the wild and don’t have the time or means to leave the city, I often head to Wreck in the off-season when it is less populated. I’ve brought camping stoves down and made soup and grilled cheese here, hiked around from Jericho Beach to Wreck Beach under a full moon and met friends to welcome in summer on the solstice. This is a beautiful place to escape, right in Vancouver!”

Twin Islands, up Burrard Inlet

“I used to guide one-day sea kayaking trips up Indian Arm, and visitors were always blown away by how this amazing wilderness location with cormorants, sea stars, eagles, jellyfish, and seals was only 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver. Twin Islands is about an hour's paddle from Deep Cove where you can rent boats and is on a transit line. I have gone there and taken family, donors that won a guided day trip and BBQ picnic, friends for their birthday, bachelorettes, last minute dates, outdoor education trips, and longer multi-day excursions that explored Granit Falls and the bird sanctuary at the end of the arm. What an amazing place to have at our doorstep and off a transit line. We are truly fortunate.”

Southlands section of the Fraser River Trail, Vancouver

 “Growing up, I biked or walked here to ponder life on the river, chatting to the birds, seals, and dogs passing by. I was fascinated by the mixing of community, nature, wildlife, pets, and industry. I also used to collect clay from the banks of the Fraser and make art with it. One day my cousins and I made a boat from driftwood and almost got sucked down the river!”

Whytecliff Park, West Vancouver

“This beautiful diverse park highlights many indigenous plants and I have often found that I feel like I am in a painting of Coast Salish life on rocky outcrops when I am there. I have gone here to picnic, rock climb, or with school children to talk about our local natural environment and play games in the woods. I remember once following a path that I thought would take me one way and ended up lost, in a section of the park I hadn’t explored before with a group of 20 children. It was slightly nerve-racking but we found our way back just before the school bus left!”



[1] http://torontosun.com/2017/06/16/about-30-of-canadians-spend-less-than-5-minutes-outside-a-day/wcm/625dec97-7496-494e-bbac-9366d44c62b1