It's safe to say Pokémon GO has made a Gyarados-sized splash for mobile users around the world. The app (which is not yet available in Canada) is turning smart phones into a window to a virtual reality where you can see a Bulbasaur in your office or a Pikachu on the street. While the need to "Catch 'em All" has spread faster than Pigdeys in a grassy area, these virtual Pokémon share their surrounding with real-life species. It's important to keep habitats untouched and clean: throw only virtual Poké Balls, take only Pokémon.
What is Pokémon GO?
I come from a generation where long family car rides to your grandparents most likely involved a trusty Gameboy Advance loaded with the latest Pokémon console. Now you're telling me I can venture outside to my favourite nature spots on the hunt for virtual Pokémon? The 12-year-old in me is ecstatic.
Technology has impacted the environment significantly since I was a young Pokémon trainer. Pokémon GO blurs the lines between nature vs. machina, forcing players to get outside in order to play the game. Using your phone's GPS and clock, the apps detects where you are and whether it is night/day to make Pokémon appear around you. This encourages users to visit diverse environments in order to capture different types of Pokémon.
Inukshuks stand on a rocky coastline at Gaff Point near Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
For example, if you want to catch a water-type Pokémon, you need to visit an area with water such as Gaff Point in Nova Scotia, or if you're looking for a grass-type visit a place such as Ontario's Happy Valley Forest.
Stop to smell the roses
The great thing about Pokémon GO is it encourages user to explore new places. While you're out capturing Pokémon, take a moment to enjoy your surroundings. Perhaps while on a quest for a rare Mewtwo you may come across your new favourite nature spot!
A real-life Butterfree? A white admiral like this was spotted in Ontario's Happy Valley Forest.
Being out in nature can improve your mental health and is proven to reduce stress. It is scientifically proven that spending time outside can ease anxiety and depression, improve focus and strengthen immune systems.
Pokémon GO is a great activity for the family too. Not only does it increase creativity, it allows Pokémon trainers of all ages to get outside and work together to search for hidden Pokémon! It is also a great way to exercise, especially for those who dread the treadmill.
Tips and tricks to get up close and personal with nature
While Pokémon GO is a great way to experience nature, there is still a lot of value in screen-free enjoyment.
Here are tips to help you enjoy the very real aspects of nature while out chasing Pokémon:
- Add a 30-minute (or longer) screen-free break. Maybe try one of NCC's nature prescription activities!
- In case you come across any unknown real-life species, the hashtag #PokeBlitz has been made to help Pokémon Trainers identify their discoveries.
- Keep a journal of the real species you encounter during the hunt for new Pokémon.
- Pay attention! Staying alert is not only critical for finding new Pokémon, it is important for your safety! Be mindful of traffic, potential tripping hazards like logs or fallen trees and cliff or steep hills.
- It's also important to be mindful of the critters you encounter and enjoy them from a respectful and non-intrusive distance.
So whether you're out catching virtual Pokémon or looking to spot a real-life species, remember to enjoy nature safely and responsibly!
Written by Raechel Bonomo, communications assistant for the Nature Conservancy of Canada. This post originally appeared on Land Lines.
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Type: Ice Skill: Captures prey with chains of ice, freezing them at -148 degrees Fahrenheit. Here's what we know about Cryogonal: It's crystallized water, born in the clouds and turns to vapor when it gets warm. You know, sort of like snow. It doesn't evolve, which makes total sense, because what would weaponized snow become? Hail? Why it's weird: The only person who should control snow is Storm from the X-Men. Not some 10-year-old kid.
Type: Ghost, Fire Skill: Absorbing the life energy of people and Pokemon to burn as fuel. Litwick, the deceptively adorable candle thing you see above, is a lot like those terrifying fish that live in the depths of the ocean. You know, like the one that almost killed Marlin and Dory in "Finding Nemo"? That's basically what Litwick is. Don't be distracted by it's cuteness, because this is a monster that lures people into a false sense of security before it literally sucks the life force from them.
Type: Ghost, Fire Skill: Wandering cities, usually hanging out near hospitals, to steal the souls of the dying. Lampent is the equally terrifying evolution of Litwick. Actually, we're going to go ahead and say it amps up the creepiness factor. As its name and image suggest, it's a lamp. A lamp fueled by the souls of dead people -- which it gets by hanging around hospitals. This seems like a designer looked around the room, pick the first object he saw and made it the most horrible thing in the world. I can't stress enough that this is a game for children.
Type: Ghost, Fire Skill: Hypnotizes prey by waving its arms, then absorbing their spirit to burn as fuel. Why is Chandelure creepy? It's Lampent and Litwick, but bigger and badder, plus it reminds us of creepy old houses (aka ghost hangouts). As if that wasn't terrifying enough, it's got the added element of fire, which it uses to burn up spirits. From the Pokedex: "The spirits burned up in its ominous flame lose their way and wander this world forever." Shudder.
Type: Steel Skill: The two gears spin around each other to create energy. Ok, Pokemon. It's stuff like Klink that really makes it look like you're running out of ideas. This is a machine. No, scratch that. This is a piece of a machine. What do you expect us to do with this? Misty's comin' at us with a lizard that breathes fire, and you're like, "Here, throw this gear at it." Notice how Klink's facial expression (expressions?) suggests it's surprised that it's expected to fight. We feel you there, buddy. We're having a little trouble wrapping our heads around it, too.
Type: Steel Skill: Launches minigears at foes, boomerang-style. If a minigear doesn't come back, it dies. Making one of the gears bigger does not make this a more acceptable Pokemon. Try again. Try harder.
Type: Steel Skill: Energy is released through the spikes in the ring. Klingklang would be pretty impressive (proof that spikes make anything more fearsome), if it weren't for that one dopey face left from it's original evolution. Is there any way we can get it to stop looking so surprised?
Type: Ice Skill: Breathing freezing air at -58 degrees Fahrenheit. This … is an ice cream cone. Has anyone at Nintendo (or Game Freak, the company that creates Pokemon for Nintendo) ever had an ice cream cone before? Do they know how fragile ice cream cones are? How easily they melt? How do they expect this frozen treat to stand up against anything?
Type: Ice Skill: Freezes enemies and hides from them in ice particles it creates. You, uh, made the ice cream cone bigger. … I see.
Type: Ice Skill: Expels a blizzard at foes. "Hi, welcome to Dairy Queen, what can I get you today?" "Um, yes, hi. I'd like a small twist cone and a Vanilluxe, please. And can I have extra napkins with that?" Come on.
Type: Steel, Ghost Skill: Stealing the spirit of anyone who touches its hilt. Up next in inanimate objects that come to life when given the souls of the innocent: Honedge. This bundle of joy is a sentient sword that -- you guessed it -- is filled with souls. See that blue cloth? That sucker wraps around the arm of anyone stupid enough to grab the hilt, and away their life force goes.
Type: Steel, Ghost Skill: Complex attack patterns with its two swords. As per usual Pokemon logic: What does the one-bladed Honedge evolve into? Two-bladed Doublade. Double the damage, double the emotional scarring that comes from being terrified by random inanimate objects that will kill you.
Type: Steel, Ghost Skill: Can switch between offensive and defensive moves with the use of its shield. As an evolutionary measure (never mind the fact that inanimate objects are evolving), Aegislash has ditched the second sword and opted instead for a shield. It's a sword; its whole purpose is to hit objects like other swords. What does it need a shield for?
Type: Water Skill: Swimming after loving couples it spots in the waves. We're pretty sure Luvdisc is supposed to be some sort of fish. We're not scientists, but how does it swim with no fin-like apparatus or tail? And why is it spying on couples enjoying themselves in the ocean? Creepy. Let's call this what it is and say Pokemon's designers ran out of fish ideas, so someone just drew a heart.
Type: Steel, Psychic Skill: The patterns on their backs are said to contain a mysterious power The Pokedex says these bad boys were found in ancient tombs and are covered in strange markings. So, we're to believe that we should entrust these priceless artifacts of unknown origins to kids? Was all of Indiana Jones' hard work for nothing?
Type: Steel, Psychic Skill: Brings rain during times of drought by opening portals to another world. First things first: If this is the evolution of Bronzor, doesn't it seem like it skipped a few evolutionary steps? I mean, we went from a disk to a bell with arm-like appendages. It can open portals to other worlds? Seems like a jump. Now, about the portals. Again, we're giving this extraordinary power to children for what can be described only as exotic cockfighting. Think about it.
Type: Electric, Steel Skill: Born with the ability to defy gravity; magnetism. Another powerful Pokemon, Magnemite looks like a random assortment of junk that's been drawn together by magnetic force. It's almost like the Pokemon designers opened their junk drawers and thought, "Yeah, ok. This works."
Type: Electric, Steel Skill: Dries up moisture in the vicinity, disrupts radio waves, disrupts electricity, can set off a magnetic storm, stops TV sets from displaying properly. How is this an evolution? This is just three small Pokemon hanging out next to each other. This is something that shouldn't be allowed to happen. Look at all the horrible things it causes! No TV? What sort of sick, alternate universe is this?
Type: Electric, Steel Skill: Generates magnetism. Aside from a lackluster number of skills, Magnezone's description in the Pokedex says that it evolved because of exposure from a magnetic field, which altered its molecular composition, changing it from its prior molecule-like shape as Magneton to its more Jetson-esque spaceship shape.
Type: Steel, Fairy Skill: Threatens attackers by jingling its keys at them; hides from attackers Of all the weird Pokemon on this list, Klefki really takes the cake. It's a set of keys that hides from you. It takes ordinary people's daily struggles and turns them into a Pokemon. You've really outdone yourselves this time, guys.
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