Although growing up in the City of Montreal, Lindsay resident Judith Hayes developed a love for nature during her childhood when she would enjoy summer vacations at the family cottage.
“I loved walking in the woods, even climbing the trees,” she said. “It was a special place for me surrounded by the sights, smells and sounds of the forest.”
Ms. Hayes said when the chance to reconnect with nature in an educational and meaningful way through a new program at Kawartha Conservation, it was the opportunity she was looking for.
In May, Kawartha Conservation launched the Walk in Nature (WIN) Program. The program offered seniors of different physical skills and abilities the opportunity to enjoy an educational, 1.5 hour walk with other like-minded individuals along different trails at a number of conservation areas.
The program offers a relaxed pace on nature trails, where staff talk about the plants, trees and ecology of the area.
“When the opportunity to explore the Ken Reid Conservation area with Environmental Educational Technicians was presented, I was motivated to join in the group setting as I had been recovering from foot surgery and thought that a small group experience with knowledgeable guides would be an interesting and safe way to again enjoy a walk in the woods again,” said Ms. Hayes.
A previous visitor to Ken Reid Conservation area as a cross country skier, dog walker and canoeist, Ms. Hayes said being able to experience the conservation area through the knowledge of staff as well as other participants made the visits special.
“I thoroughly enjoyed both of my walks, one on the open trails to the new viewing platform in the wetlands and the other more into the forest setting,” she said. “ The Stewardship staff answered our questions as well as pointed out interesting leaf formations, names of trees and plants and followed up with an email with the various names of the plants and flowers that we had seen.”
For Ms. Hayes, the walks were more than just a chance to reconnect with nature.
“Learning to appreciate and feel the holistic atmosphere on a casual walk in the woods is a healing experience for me,” she said. “I would certainly recommend other seniors join in future walks as life-long learning with experienced guides is a way to enjoy peace.”
There are two Walk in Nature program dates remaining this summer; Wednesday, August 22 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Durham East Cross Forest and again on Wednesday, August 29th from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Ken Reid Conservation Area.