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Survey confirms nature key to pandemic well-being

Eight in 10 people say they are spending time in nature

SASKATCHEWAN — Canadians are continuing to seek refuge in the outdoors to help cope with the stress and anxiety of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

With another round of restrictions and closures being introduced in many provinces, NCC says it is important for physical, mental and emotional well-being to connect with nature.

An Ipsos Public Affairs poll conducted for NCC reveals 82 per cent of the people surveyed are spending time in nature. Thirty-seven per cent said they are spending more time outdoors compared to their lives before the pandemic began in March 2020. Among respondents, women, young people and young families were most likely to be spending more time outside.

“These findings underscore why protecting and having access to nature is important and helps all of us,” said François Duclos, senior advisor for visitor-use planning with NCC.

“Many Canadians are turning to nature reserves, trails, green spaces and parks for physically distanced outdoor activities. People want to safely connect with others or to get out for some sunlight and a walk, hike, run or bike ride. They are embracing opportunities to get fresh air, exercise, feel a sense of calm and take a break from increased telework and screen time.”

Of the 18 per cent of people who said they are spending less time in nature, one-third indicated they were following their provincial health guidelines and staying close to home. Lack of access was a barrier for many who said they require transportation or don’t have natural spaces close to where they live. Others said they simply don’t have time.

“Spending time in nature can help reduce stress and make you feel better emotionally, while also contributing to your physical well-being,” said Kayla Burak, engagement manager with NCC in Saskatchewan.

“We invite you to visit NCC’s Nature Destinations – places for you to explore, unwind and connect with nature. To check out location options, visit”