As we battle through the uncertainties of 2020, the question to ask ourselves is: What brings us peace, healing, a sense of oneness, freedom, clarity and equilibrium? Any guesses? You got it right: nature.
This season, instead of being caught up in the Christmas chaos, think about what you can do different that will bring you gratification and joy. We buy gifts for family and friends, but have you ever stepped back and considered how much nature gives us? In a world of materialism, giving back to nature is a way to honor and respect Mother Earth.
This Giving Tuesday, you can give back to nature to protect and restore the Sydenham River Watershed. Under immense pressure from development, the watershed is in the fragile Carolinian Zone. With your help, Ontario Nature will develop a long-term conservation plan that identifies land securement, restoration and stewardship opportunities.
Ontario Nature’s conservation work at their Sydenham River Nature Reserve (SRNR) is one example of what your donation could contribute to. The 193-acre property forever protects one of Ontario’s most biodiverse waterways. The SRNR is a largely wooded biodiversity oasis, and it hosts a diversity of plants and animals including 23 species at risk (including birds, plants, reptiles, fish and, of course, freshwater mussels) and 34 species of mussel (11 of which are listed as at-risk provincially or nationally making the property the freshwater mussel capital of Canada). Additionally, half of Ontario’s bird species breed in or pass through the area during migration.
Your donation this Giving Tuesday will help Ontario Nature achieve the following activities:
Plant 30 acres of grassland and Carolinian forest habitat on their SRNR;
Create vernal pools on their SRNR;
Enhance local awareness about native species including beneficial management techniques;
Identify habitat for rare species and wildlife corridors for potential land protection;
Model an approach to restoration in the spirit and practice of reconciliation; and
Build cross-cultural understanding about the importance of decolonizing conservation.
Also, did you know about the psychological benefits of giving? In a 2006 study, Jorge Moll and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health found that when people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect. Similarly, whether you give your time or money, research shows that those who volunteer tend to live longer and have happier lives.
Other psychological benefits of giving include helping decrease blood pressure and stress. This is because acts of giving generally release “good feeling” chemicals such as endorphins, which give us a sense of euphoria, and oxytocin, which promotes tranquility and inner peace.
When we give to others, our generosity often inspires others to do the same. Please help Ontario Nature achieve its goal to raise $30,000 to protect and restore the Sydenham River Watershed for generations to come.