Posts Tagged ‘calgary’

Year long nature challenge

Thanks to a fitbit that my sister gave me and a desire to “walk the talk,” I have decided to start a nature challenge.  My goal is to go outside for a minimum of 30 minutes every day, for a year.  Ideally, this will be active time outside – walking, hiking, snowshoeing – but I’m also hoping to take some time to reflect on my experience.  I’m also going to try to blog about it as I go.  I don’t promise that I’m going to do a great job at it, but I’m going to try.

Finally, I’m going to try to make sure that I do as much of this as possible with my son.  As you no doubt can tell, he loves being outside and has a great time with it.  Along the way, I will tell you about where we went and what we did and what made it easier (or could have made it easier).  I hope you enjoy it.

With that in mind, today we went skating in Calgary’s Bowness Park.  The park has been closed for ages, having been hit hard by the 2013 Calgary Flood, but it’s back in business and better than ever.  The new tea house (which isn’t open for tea yet) has a great bit deck out front with gas fireplaces – a wonderful spot to sit and put on your skates!  I’ll be honest, I would have been happy just to hang out by the fire and relax, but it seemed like a good idea to at least do a few laps of the pond.  The ice is a little bumpy (isn’t all outdoor ice?) but it’s a very kid friendly spot – people watch where they’re going and there aren’t any hockey games.  Don’t get me wrong, I like hockey, but it doesn’t mix well with teaching your kid to skate.

Our son and his new friend also discovered that the shore is a great spot to find but chunks of broken ice – a pretty cool diversion when you’re six.  He would have played for hours, making forts and throwing snowballs but us adults were getting a bit bored.  Next time, we will bring folding chairs and a thermos of hot chocolate and just let the kids play.

Most communities have some kind of outdoor rink.  It’s an easy, inexpensive way of having a bit of outdoor fun as a family.  Such a nice fun afternoon!

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A day at the zoo

I actually wrote this a few months back and never got around to posting it:

A great way to get kids interested in nature is to tIe them to the zoo. It’s fun for all ages and you can, likely, learn about local species in a controlled environment. By getting an idea, up front, about what you should be looking for on your nature walks you’ll greatly increase your chances of actually seeing something when you’re out. Most zoos have a local species area (the Calgary zoo even has local trees!) and, far too often, these areas are ignored by the public in favour of exotic areas featuring lions, tigers and zebras ( admit it, you thought I was going to say bears, oh my). My experience shows that these areas are less crowded and that a child is just as excited to see a moose as they are to see a giraffe. What a great place to explore together!

Here are some ideas to try while you are at the zoo:

– try sketching one of the animals – make sure that you note the features
– try sitting near an animal habitat and listening – Many open air habitats attract local birds, etc
– look for misplaced species – today we saw deer mice in with the monkeys
– try to guess the animals without looking at the signs using field guides
– make sure that you visit at least one exotic species – and compare features

So – the zoo, an easy place to share a bit of local nature