It is all of our responsibility to care for the land, air and water that provides for us.
Over the years it seems we have become disconnected from nature and no longer have an awareness of our impact.
Here are some helpful guidelines that I hope become part of the culture of being Canadian. If we all did these things the world would be a more beautiful and abundant place for not just us but our children and our children’s children.
- Throw trash in the bin & pick up little when you see it.
Fun fact, bacteria that make you sick tend to only survive in warm weather. Which means for most of the year you can pick up litter and not worry about whatever it is you imagine might harm you.
- Disturb creek-beds and the stones in them as little as possible.
Most creek-beds are nurseries for baby pond life; from fish to frogs, newts, dragonflies, damselflies, mayflies, shellfish and so many more unseen creatures that make up a complicated ecosystem web. Imagine you came into someone’s house and tossed their baby’s room with them in the crib!
That’s essentially what we are doing when we dig or move rocks in a creek-bed. Most creeks and streams are best crossed at common points to concentrate our foot traffic to fewer locations and minimize disturbance.
- Keep your dog on a leash or at least on the trail.
I get a lot of pushback for this one. Dog owners don’t like to admit that their dogs do significant trail damage and have an impact on the ground dwelling wildlife. Most trail braids are created first by off-leash dogs! Trail braids cause erosion and degradation to our trail systems. They are often difficult to repair and spread our impact further than the trail builders intended.
- Fill in any holes you dig.
I love seeing children in nature and one of their favorite activities is to dig holes. Which is wonderful and joyous and so playful. Those holes are also a source of water collection which leads to pooling which can take away from the previous flow of the water. This can mean a tree doesn’t get the water it used to or a plant gets too much water. It is also a tripping hazard. We can care for the plants and animals by taking a moment to fill in and smooth out any major holes our children or pets have dug.
- Stop picking wildflowers.
Just stop. I can’t believe I have to say this but every spring it never fails that our rare wildflowers get picked by adults and children alike. In my work I go significantly out of my way to tend to the wildflowers, allow them to finish their growth cycle and spread their seeds.
If you can’t name it and you don’t know how it propagates (has babies) don’t pick it. Teach your children NOT to pick wildflowers they cannot name. Teach them to ask permission from the plant. Teach them to leave a gift in return.
We can still enjoy all that nature has to offer and keep these few mindfulness tips in our hearts.
It is an act of love to choose not to do something we know can cause harm.
As human beings we have a unique opportunity to shape the world we live in. No other creature on earth has the kind power to transform that we do. Use that power wisely.
Let’s teach our children and our dogs to tread lightly on our wild spaces so they will not only be there but they will be abundant and awe inspiring.