Goal 3: Connecting People with Nature

Help people connect to nature through recreation.

3.1 Provide accessible natural spaces, wetlands, and places in new and existing
neighborhoods, communities, and regions through the retention and addition of
natural areas, forests, parks, trails, and recreational waters (rivers, lakes, canals,
and beaches).

Operational Ideas:

  • Promote natural spaces to community members. This may differ for
    Indigenous people living on reserve where they live in a natural space that is
    not thought of as a recreation space.
  • Ensure natural spaces include accessible signage.
  • Learn about and implement ways to ensure that all members of the
    community feel welcome in these spaces.

Resources: 

Strategic Ideas:

  • Work with other departments and service areas (e.g., planning, public works, heritage) to enhance and maintain parkland.
  • Work with developers to create green roofs and other green features to improve air quality, reduce heat islands, and reduce noise pollution. 
  • Consider how parks are connected in communities, from small parkettes to larger urban areas, working across jurisdictions to promote effective land use planning.
  • Plan for shaded areas in outdoor recreation settings and access to washroom facilities.
  • Collaborate with other municipal sectors and Conservation Authorities/Associations/Foundations. This will require language that works in a cross-sectoral application.

3.2 Gather and share best practices about planning, creating, maintaining, and monitoring a comprehensive system of parks and protected areas that allows year-round (if appropriate) access to nature for people of all ages and abilities.

Operational Ideas:

  • Develop a winter parks activity guide to help people access outdoor spaces safely in winter.

Strategic Ideas:

  • Develop a collaborative or advisory group (municipality, NGOs, grassroots) that meets regularly to share best practices.
  • Maximize accessibility to spaces with a year-round maintenance plan. Work with other municipal departments to ensure this includes snow removal to facilities from public transit locations and parking lots.
  • Develop accessibility standards for outdoor spaces that remove barriers to participation (e.g., trail loops with hard, even surfaces; sensory parks/gardens, etc.).
  • In developing a plan, consider including an initial needs assessment and integrating risk management elements throughout.

3.3 Increase the public’s understanding of the importance of nature and outdoor spaces to health and wellbeing in a respectful approach to parks, trails, and other natural environments.

Operational Ideas:

  • Develop public awareness messages, education initiatives, and programs about nature, outdoor spaces, and stewardship.
  • Provide signage and information in natural areas as well as on regularly travelled areas with trees and other natural elements to educate the public. Provide signs in different languages.
  • Develop specific low- or no-cost programs that connect people to nature (e.g., cemetery tours, nature/park walks, clean up days, community gardens/farms, etc.).
  • Develop opportunities for self-guided interactions with nature.
  • Train volunteers as nature interpreters in parks and on trails. Deliver information in a variety of languages.

Strategic Ideas:

  • Work with municipal communications staff (where available) to develop key messages as part of a comprehensive public communication campaign.

3.4 Develop operational policies and practices that show leadership in
environmental stewardship, in conjunction with others involved in the community (e.g., Conservation Authorities/Associations/Foundations) with expertise in climate change. Minimize negative impacts on the natural environment and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Operational Ideas:

  • Learn from Indigenous land-based perspectives.[1]
  • Use methods such as integrated pest management to help control the proliferation of disease-bearing insects and noxious plants.
  • Create pollinator parks, urban gardens, and hedgerows (a strip of densely planted trees or shrubs).
  • Organize regular clean up days at local beaches, parks, or school grounds.
  • Encourage community members and facility visitors to take active or public transportation. Ensure bike racks are available at facilities, parks, and trails.
  • Reuse and recycle at facilities as much as possible.
  • Implement practices/policies/guidelines to help citizens minimize the negative impact on the natural environment (e.g., trash carry out policy; use of water bottle filling stations, etc.).

Strategic Ideas:

  • Advocate for or incorporate urban canopies to reduce the effects of heat islands.
  • Minimize the negative effect on the environment in recreation facilities and other community buildings (e.g., Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification, permeable surfaces, low-impact development standards).

 

[1] https://en.ccunesco.ca/idealab/indigenous-land-based-education

Be the first to comment

0
Profile picture for
Sign in to your account
Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.