Until 1969, biologists thought mushrooms and other fungi were plants. They're actually more closely related to animals, but with enough differences that they inhabit their own distinct classification. This and more recent findings about these mysterious organisms illustrate how much we have yet to learn about the complexities of the natural world.
Canadians steward not just about nine per cent of all the world's forests, but a whopping 25 per cent of the planet's most intact and pristine forests. Despite everything forests provide to Canada, our collective stewardship of this quintessential Canadian landscape may be falling behind. Canada is one of only a few developed countries continuing to lose forest.
It's often said that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. But what about the grandparents of the natural world? Old-growth forests come to mind. They are structurally and ecologically diverse and often remain very stable for centuries, feature multi-layered canopies with various tree species at different stages of their life cycle.
A growing body of research confirms the health benefits of getting outside. Kids who spend time in nature every day are healthier, happier, more creative, less stressed and more alert than those who don't. As parents, grandparents, caregivers and educators, it's our responsibility to raise kids with healthy nature habits.
Canada is a treasure trove of rivers, lakes and wetlands supporting countless communities, economies and species. With freshwater species experiencing the greatest rate of decline in what is being referred to as the sixth great extinction, Canada must step up efforts to improve watershed health for people and animals. For a prime example of our freshwater health and wealth, we need to look no further than the Skeena watershed on the northwest coast of British Columbia.
If we disconnect from the natural world, we become disconnected from who we are -- to the detriment of our health and the health of the ecosystems on which our well-being and survival depend. Understanding that we're part of nature and acting on that understanding makes us healthier and happier, and encourages us to care for the natural systems around us.
I love going on a day hike. Nothing is better than being out with friends enjoying nature and having a laugh. But from time to time, when I am on the trail I do see people who look distressed or uncomfortable. Day hikes are much more fun and enjoyable (and safe too!) when you have the top tips to make your outing great.
If one of your goals when you get outside to enjoy Canada's vast natural spaces this summer is to bring home some awe-inspiring photographs, you may be wondering where to start. We spoke with Bruce Kirkby, an award-winning wilderness writer and adventure photographer to get his take on what makes a great nature photo.
Did you know that gardening is not only good for the environment, but it also promotes both mind and body health? Just like the soil and plants in the garden, we need to make sure we are adequately fueled and hydrated. Before or after a few hours of planting flowers and pulling weeds, I recommend these two simple, delicious go-to recipes to help keep you energized all day long.
In 2010, our five-year-old daughter, Lily, was diagnosed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Whenever Lily was released from the hospital, and the weather cooperated, we headed outside. We really started to depend on these adventures, these outdoor excursions, to get us through the bad days and help Lily along her road to recovery. According to the National Environmental Educational Foundation, exposure to nature can reduce stress levels by as much as 28 per cent in children. Health benefits of nature may include reduced anxiety and depression, increased energy and immunity, decreased stress and improved mental health.
When I discovered the German word Waldensemkite -- the feeling of peace that one gets when being alone in the woods -- it made me wonder how real are these experiences? Did this invisible forest mist have an impact on me? As a scientist, I relish the experiment. So for one week, I would spend at least five minutes maximizing the human/tree interface, i.e. tree hugging.
As spring finally heats up in the east, I'm reminded of all the reasons why I get outside and like to go wild and immerse myself in nature. Of course, exercise is important (for me and my dog Jimmy) and it's nice to clear my mind, but as I do it, it reminds me why protecting nature is an important daily responsibility.
Have roses, boxed sweets and fancy dinners not been doing much for your latest attempts to woo your love? With glaring reminders of Cupid's day at every retailer in sight, it is easy to lose sight of Valentine's true meaning and "buy" your way through whole ordeal. But if you (or your loved one) beg to differ from the usual fare, try adding some creativity to your celebrations. Here are three non-clichéd ideas to celebrate your Valentine's Day.