Connecting with the great outdoors

JUDIQUE: Insights were offered on how to encourage young people to appreciate and get out into nature.

On September 23, the Judique Community Centre hosted a Re-Connecting with Nature Workshop.

“These workshops help leaders feel more comfortable taking children outside and reconnecting with the forest and the trees versus being inside with devices and being tied into electronics,” said George Taylor, who was an instructor at the workshop with Nadine LeFort.

“This workshop is very hands on. It helps leaders teach children how to reconnect with nature and the ground. Touch the ground, smell the ground, and through the activities get to know the earth a little better.”

The workshop was organized by Hike Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Family Place. The folks at Cape Breton Family Place wanted to provide the training to its staff.

The need for youth to connect with nature, Taylor said, is very crucial.

“Medically, they are looking at it as a disorder – a nature deficit disorder,” he said. “You can see the fitness level going down, obesity increasing, so the idea of getting kids outside and connected is very important.”

The workshop included activities in the morning designed to touch the earth.

“You can take a leaf in your hand and breathe in from it,” he said. “That leaf gives us oxygen, and when we breathe out, the leaf needs the carbon dioxide we give off. The leaf wouldn’t live without the carbon dioxide, and we wouldn’t live without the oxygen.

“I call it the best deal on Earth, and it’s free.”

Two days after the Judique workshop, Taylor and company offered a second Re-Connecting with Nature workshop in Sydney.

“It’s not anyone’s fault that kids are getting more and more detached, it’s just the technology,” he said. “We need to be mindful of when it’s time to put the devices down and go outside and play.”

Similar workshops will be held in the future as well, Taylor said, noting that hikenovascotia.ca does a great job of outlining when events like this take place.

He added that with so many great trail systems in Nova Scotia, people of all ages have many opportunities to put some soil under their hiking boots.