University of Calgary

Mind & Body

Submitted by alumni on Tue, 05/26/2015 - 11:00.

Mind & Body

Meet the man behind UCalgary’s Outdoor Centre — the largest facility of its kind in North America — who extolls the virtues of Mother Nature.
by Barb Livingstone

An Outdoor Centre glacier hike – just below the north face of Quadra near Lake Louise, Banff National Park

Nature Nuggets

A survey conducted in eight European cities found that people who live in areas with high levels of greenery are three times more physically active and 40 per cent less likely to be overweight or obese.
— British Medical Journal

Initiatives set up to increase physical activity in green spaces (so-called “green exercise”) have been linked with improvements in social networking andfeelings of connectivity and companionship, an increased appreciation of nature,improvements in self-esteem and a means of escape from modern life. Anecdotal evidence suggests that long-term adherence to exercise initiatives conducted in outdoor natural environments may be superior to that of indoor exercise interventions.
— Environmental Science and Technology Journal

Nature Kindergarten is a new alternative-learning program that may be available in Calgary this fall. Targeting kindergarten-aged children, this European learning model is being backed by Common Digs in partnership with the Children’s Commons Ecological Society. This early childhood-service provider is hoping to be endorsed by Alberta Education so it can start operating a full-day kindergarten program in Calgary’s northwest this September. Eighty per cent of the children’s learning time will be spent outdoors.

Not only is UCalgary Outdoor Centre North America’s largest, but this 10,000-sq.-ft. indoor rental space has processed more than 500,000 rental work orders since it opened in 1976. On average, it sees 10,000 course participants annually and has a fleet of rentals: 70 canoes, 80 kayaks, 250 pairs of snowshoes, 75 inflatable rafts, 20 stand-up paddleboards, 40 bikes, 100 tents and 200 pairs of cross-country skis.