BC Parks Foundation
6 Ways to Stay Connected with ParksMarch 30, 2020
Photo: Destination BC/Andrew Strain
Life is a bit weird right now. Here at the BC Parks Foundation, our job is usually to connect you with parks. Our job is to get British Columbians outside, enjoying the health benefits of nature. It's to enhance B.C.'s provincial park system through new experiences and protect the beautiful life that lives in our parks. But we can't do that right now, at least not in the way we did up until a few weeks ago.
In order to help protect park visitors, staff and to keep the parks themselves healthy, camping has been suspended at provincial parks until at least April 30. Many parks have been completely closed, and those that remain open largely have a reduction or suspension of services (visit the BC Parks website for the most up-to-date information). This is challenging for all of us who love provincial parks and use them as if they were our own, immediate backyard (because, they kind of are). However, this decision was made with the health and safety of all British Columbians in mind.
On the bright side, the parks will be waiting for you, with open arms, when all of this is over. Nature's not going anywhere.
So, if you're asking yourself how you can support parks while helping flatten the curve, we have some answers for you.
1. Join the Online Community
You can stay up-to-date with park news on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and/or LinkedIn. Don't forget to sign up for our e-newsletter. We promise not to spam you and to only send you content we think you'll really love.
2. Send Your Friend a Gift
Is there a friend or a family member who you normally explore the outdoors with, but because you're being a responsible citizen and self-isolating, you haven't seen them in a while? Let them know you're thinking about them by sending a gift from the BC Parks Foundation Gift Shop! You can buy a patch, sticker or tote bag from your favourite park, or send a water bottle and remind them to stay hydrated while working from home. If you're not sure which patch to send, we also have gift cards. No matter what, every purchase from the shop supports our mission. Check out the online gift shop, here.
Photo: Varied thrush by Katie Kushneryk for the BC Parks iNaturalist Project
3. Become an Armchair Naturalist
Do you have old photos of plants, animals, bugs or fungus from a B.C. provincial park? Consider uploading your photos to iNaturalist and help further our understanding of the biodiversity in our province. These photos can be from any time, just be sure to adjust the date as you upload them! If you have an expertise in any naturalist area, also consider becoming an iNaturalist identifier (learn how to do that here and here).
4. Visit a Story Trail from Your Living Room
Have you ever been to the Shuswap area of B.C.? Last year, we partnered with Chase Secondary School’s Secwépemctsin (Shuswap) language class to build a Story Trail in Tsútswecw Park. Along the Story Trail, you can hear the names of local plants in the Secwépemctsin language, and how they were (and are) used in the traditional Secwépemc culture. But you don't actually have to go to the park to hear the stories - simply go over to this webpage and listen from your home computer!
Photo: Destination BC/Andrew Strain
5. Leave Your Legacy
Now may not be the best time for some to make a cash donation, but have you thought about longer-term giving? Our team would be grateful to have a conversation with you about wills and estate planning. If you'd like to leave your legacy through B.C.s' park system, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Stay Healthy, Stay Connected
To keep yourself and your family happy, healthy and entertained as you self-isolate, we rounded up some ways you can create an at-home picnic, play family-friendly at-home picnic activities, and how you can virtually connect with friends and family. PBS has a number of great online nature games to play with your kids, or simply just put on 10 hours of calming mountain sounds and support your mental health by meditating.
No matter how you're helping flatten the curve, we want to share our sincere gratitude for your ongoing support to B.C.'s parks. Our vision is only possible because of amazing people, like you. Thank you for helping keep B.C. beautiful.
About the author
Colleen Dunbar's first time camping in a provincial park was at six weeks old and from there she grew up telling ghost stories around the campfire. She's now turned that love of parks and storytelling into a career as the Communications & Marketing Manager at the BC Parks Foundation. Say hi to her on the Foundation's Instagram, Facebook and Twitter channels.
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BC's parks are places of astounding natural beauty that anchor our hearts and our souls.”