March 02, 2020
For those who live and play in the West Coast of British Columbia, we innately recognize the healing power of nature.
Even the simple act of going for a walk and experiencing the earthy smell of damp mosses, appreciating the glow of light streaming through leaves, and listening to the sounds of the creatures who call this place home, deepens our connections to the natural world and increases our sense of well-being. Whether in solitude, or as part of a class or community gathering, the impact is similar and influences our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
Sekyú Siýáḿ (Chief Ian Campbell) of Squamish Nation reinforces this notion and explains from historical and contemporary contexts that: “Sḵwx̱wú7mesh societies are shaped by the bounty of the land. This is reflected in our stories of humanity, of triumph, tenacity, and transformation.” Indigenous traditional ecological knowledges often highlight this understanding and celebrates the interdependence between humans and the biosphere, impacting almost every field, including health sciences.
Every day, research is emerging reporting the positive impacts of nature-based activities for people of all ages.
Spending time outdoors is proven to reduces stress, improve mood, increase concentration and contribute to better regulation of emotions. Studies also cite a reduced risk of a variety of diseases such as: depression, heart attack, stroke, and dementia to name just a few. Results also identify that children, youth, and adults who integrate outdoor activities as part of their lifestyle experience increased academic, artistic, and professional success.
In addition to positive health impacts, strengthening connections to the environment creates effective change; inspiring people to learn more about the complexity of nature and how our planet enables humankind to survive and thrive. With this knowledge new ideas emerge about how to better care for and protect the earth.
At Cheakamus Centre, we are privileged to be part of this educational process and witness learning in the teaching longhouse, at the farm, in the hatchery and in the forest trails; all contributing to the health and well-being of thousands of students and adults each year.
To find out more about programs, Friends of Cheakamus workshops, group vounteering, and learning resources for you, your family, class, school or organization, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributed by Cheakamus Centre staff: Senior Development Officer, Dr. Sarah Bainbridge