Welcome to the latest instalment of the Nearby Nature Project! More than 25 years ago I learned that spending time with Mother Nature is essential to my well-being. Some of my favourite ways to absorb a daily dose of Vitamin N(ature) include gardening, walking, cycling, hiking, birdwatching, and kayaking.
Over the past few years, mainstream media has reported on the benefits of spending time in nature. Also hashtags like #playoutside, #optoutside, and #greentimenotscreentime have communities of followers. These Nearby Nature Project posts are where I reflect on my connectedness to Nature and share interesting resources and news stories.
Calgary’s Official City Bird
On World Migratory Bird Day Calgarian’s learned that the black-capped chickadee is our official city bird. Its easy to recognize bird calls always make me smile. Cheese-burger and chick-a-dee-dee-dee to you!
Edmonton also got some great news on the same day. It’s joined the growing list of certified bird-friendly cities in Canada.
Bias in Research
I came across to articles this month that highlight the WEIRD bias in research into the benefits of nature connectedness. WEIRD is short form for western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic. This article in The Guardian describes the findings from a review of 174 research studies. Also, for a more Canadian (okay, Toronto) perspective, I found this informative article in Azure magazine.
Benefits of Hiking
I joined the 52 Hike Challenge a few years ago. And whether they knew it or not, a LOT of other people joined this challenge during the pandemic! For more about the top 5 mental health benefits of hiking, check out this post from 52 Hike Challenge.
Cultivating My Nature Connection
Last time I said I’d be reading Old Man’s Garden: The History and Lore of Southern Alberta Wildflowers by Annora Brown. Due to personal tax return season and getting to know my new camera, I haven’t finished the book. Watch for my review next month.
Nearby Nature Project this Month
Thanks to our new OM-1 cameras from OM Systems, we’re really getting into birding. Yep, I’ve even started keeping a journal of all the birds we see on each bird walk!
We’re learning to recognize some bird songs. And we’re keeping an eye on a Belted Kingfisher nesting hole we spotted earlier this week, hoping to see baby Belted Kingfishers at some point!!
I’m promise to change it up next month, with a report on how my pollinator-friendly vegetable and flower gardens are doing. Meanwhile, here are some of my favourite bird photos from the past couple of months.
Radishes, onions, garlic, kale and beets are already up in my vegetable garden. As of May 15th, everything is planted in our four raised beds and there’s no room for anything else until we start harvesting onions and radishes. We smiled when our oldest (now living in North Carolina) sent photos of the deck railing planters he’s using to grow herbs and peppers. Are you growing anything edible this year? Growing a favourite flower in a planter pot? Or trying a new-to-you plant in a flower bed?
Celebrate World Bee Day on May 20th! Calgary is one of 61 bee cities across Canada and almost 200 different types of bees have been documented in Calgary. For more information, check out the Bee City website and consider taking the pollinator pledge. Also, the University of Calgary has some great resources on bee citizen science in Calgary. I’m especially interested in doing a pollinator count in our yard. Finally, outside of Calgary, Bumble Bee Watch is a great portal for learning and citizen science.