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  • Kraig Brachman

Celebrate Family Literacy Day Spending Time Outdoors


January means two things around the FESA office:

  1. Winter has belly flopped hard onto Alberta and we are coping to the best of our abilities, and

  2. Family Literacy Day is arriving!

2022’s theme for Family Literacy Day is nature and with the perpetual screen usage and arctic temperatures keeping us squirrelled away in our warm homes, we think it’s a fantastic theme to get us outside and make us earn our nightly hot cocoa.


For this year’s Family Literacy Day, we are putting together a guide on how to bring literacy learning to the outdoors. You can do one of these ideas or combine them to make a Family Literacy Day adventure of your own.

 

Participate in a Scavenger Hunt

ABC Life Literacy has put together a scavenger hunt list that you can print out and take with you on your adventures in nature! Take pictures of your findings so you can show them to your friends and family.

  • Access ABC Life Literacy's scavenger hunt activity sheet here.

 

Create a Nature Journal

While trekking through the cold and snow, bring a pencil and some paper to keep a nature journal of what you see, your thoughts, or an account of your events. You can also take videos on your phone to watch later! The hardest part of journaling is starting. You may worry if something is worth writing down. It’s best not to worry about that, if you can, and simply start. Pick a letter, then a word, then a sentence. The next one will be easier — I guarantee it.


Here are some prompts to get you started:

  • How does this natural area make me feel?

  • What happened while we were on a walk (eg. Did we see certain wildlife?)?

  • Does my mental health improve after taking a walk?

  • What sounds did I hear?

 

Escape Your Own Backyard by Heading to Local Nature Parks


Calgary is truly blessed with its access to green spaces and nature preserves. According to the City of Calgary’s website, we have 73 parks available in Calgary — all free to use — and that doesn’t include provincial parks inside and outside the city limits.


Here are a few we recommend for your naturing adventures:


Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre have been providing migratory birds with a place to rest their wings since 1929. That's more than 80 years of conservation!


To date, 270 species of birds, 21 species of mammals, and 347 species of plants have been recorded at the Sanctuary and Nature Centre by members of the public, volunteers, and staff.

West Nose Creek / Confluence Park

West Nose Creek Park, also known as Confluence Park, lies along both banks of West Nose Creek near its confluence with Nose Creek in Calgary's northeast.


West Nose Creek Park is home to a riparian zone, which is the narrow green space along the edge of a water body. The diverse group of plants and animals found in this habitat are different from those a few metres away on either side. The creek meanders through multiple curves in the valley bottom. The slow and steady movement of the water produces a rich riparian zone.


Fish Creek Provincial Park

Fish Creek Park features more than 100 kilometres of trails for walking, hiking, and biking. Of which, more than 60 kilometres are paved.


Much of the park is forested and is home to a variety of natural wildlife, including deer, coyotes, owls, and beavers, as well as several species of garter snakes and frogs. More than 200 bird species have been seen in the park, including great blue herons.

 

Learn About Alberta's Nature Species Through Naturelynx

NatureLynx is a free citizen science application created and supported by the not-for-profit Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) with the goal of fostering an Alberta biodiversity network. NatureLynx is a made in Alberta app that allows users to share their discoveries and learn more Alberta nature species.


With NatureLynx you can join the conversation by uploading pictures of anything in nature with as much or as little information about the species, or you can use it as a reference guide to learn more about specific plants and animals in Alberta.

  • Read more about Naturelynx here and here.

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