Small Ideas: $10,000

Description

Our idea is to bring people together from different backgrounds, ages and economic circumstances to enjoy a day of family, friends and companionship at a time of year that can be extremely difficult for some people, while at the same time celebrating and embracing nature - a scientifically proven outlet that has positive health effects by simply viewing or being active in natural settings.

For many people in our community, the holidays can be a difficult time. Whether someone is alone, or has financial challenges, has recently lost a family member, or even if family is away and can't be home for the holidays.

In Lindsay, one in ten residents lives in poverty adding to the stress people can experience during the holiday season.

We want to create a free, inclusive community event that brings people together regardless of backgrounds or circumstance. A day where people can be free of their stresses, where children can play, enjoy horse drawn sleigh rides, create and keep crafts, enjoy trails, roast marshmallows, listen to carollers. An event where parents and grandparents can enjoy companionship and comradery in an outdoor setting with the sounds, sights and smells of the holidays.

We want to create happiness for individuals and families who may not enjoy much during this difficult time of year.

Kawartha Conservation is a watershed-based, non-profit organization that balances environmental capacity and human need, while managing natural resource features that are essential for sustaining water quality and quantity, through watershed planning, stewardship, environmental monitoring and research, and management of conservation and natural areas.

Through our Stewardship, Education and Conservation Areas departments we provide natural spaces and programs to support youth, adults, seniors and families.

Rates of depression and other stress-related chronic diseases continue to climb, adding to our increasing health care costs. There is urgency everywhere to find ways to cut costs and stem the tide. The facts are:

* Total annual health care spending in Canada is now over $200 billion (CIHI, 2012); in Ontario, health care spending consumes over 40 percent of the provincial budget. Finding ways to contain health care spending is a priority.
* Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide (WHO, 2012) and a leading contributor to the economic burden of disease.
* Chronic stress is pervasive, and related to depression and the development of chronic disease.

Research findings suggest that natural settings such as parks, wilderness areas, urban green spaces and gardens may be just what the doctor ordered to improve both physical and mental health and reduce the load on our health care system.

There is a growing collection of evidence suggesting that exposure to natural settings has direct positive effects, independent of physical activity, on reducing stress levels and enhancing mental well-being. The capacity of the natural environment to improve the physical and mental health of the population and reduce health care expenditures is attracting the interest of health practitioners and policy-makers everywhere. Such a prescription for health also empowers citizens to take greater control of their own health and well-being, most often with few costs attached.

The research literature on the relationship of nature to physical and mental health is extensive and growing.

The idea that nature and healing are linked is an ancient one, as reflected by expressions such as “Communing with nature is good for the soul.” An emphasis on the spiritual and emotional strength available through a close relationship with nature is still embraced by First Nations and aboriginal communities, and retains an intuitive appeal with deep resonance across time and cultures.

Broker supported
IRWIN SARGENT & LOWES LIMITED

Kawartha Conservation

Location: Lindsay