OUT ON A LIMB: We’ve got the cure for nature deficit disorder

I’ll see a dark shadow and my mind will immediately jump to a conclusion: is that a bear?

Whenever I’m driving my eyes often play tricks on me. I’ll see a dark shadow and my mind will immediately jump to a conclusion: is that a bear? Then I’ll see that no, it wasn’t.

Well, the other night I was driving along Dogwood Street and a dark shadow appeared in the verdant transition zone between the roadway and the forest. A bear? No, of course not.

Except, this time it was. A black bear poked its head out of the Beaver Lodge Forest like it was a green curtain. Then its shoulders emerged and finally the rest of the body. It was a sizeable black bear. It trundled off southwards along the trimmed grass on Dogwood.

It was a cool sighting, as any wildlife viewing is. What adds to the pleasure, of course, was this was right in the Beaver Lodge Lands. On Saturday, The Beaver Lodge Trust Committee celebrated the 20th anniversary of the legislation that entrenched the Beaver Lodge Forest. I trust you saw our special section last week? There is a picture from the event in today’s paper and a video on our website (www.campbellrivermirror.com).

The deer are also emerging from whatever it is they do in the winter. They occassionaly show up along Dogwood Street but they’re more visible in spring and summer. There’s been a couple of deer with velvet-covered antlers that look like they’ve got three or four points. I’m sure you’ve seen them.

The same night I saw the black bear on Dogwood, I was on a back logging road dumping trash – no, just kidding, I wasn’t but lots of other people certainly were. I was walking off into a logged area and in the mud at my feet was the distinct track of a black bear as well as numerous deer tracks. It wasn’t that fresh so I wasn’t worried.

The spring conditions are bringing out the wildlife obviously and it’s so nice to see. The Beaver Lodge Forest is always a great place to get out and enjoy nature.

We’re so blessed here in the Campbell River area. In town we’ve got the Beaver Lodge Lands as well as another favourite natural area of mine, the Willow Creek watershed. And then there’s also the Campbell River estuary and its trails, whether it’s the Myrt Thompson Trail or the Raven Channel/Baikie Island network. I’m sure you all have your favourite spots too.

I love the warm weather and the feeling of peace that you get on a summer’s evening in the woods. There’s been a rash of research recently proving the physical and emotional benefits of simply being in close contact with natural areas. Another case of science proving what’s obvious to us already.

Campbell River has lots of medicine for nature deficit disorder, a phrase coined by naturalist writer Richard Louv. He fears our children are in the midst of an epidemic of nature deficit disorder as they shy away from nature in favour of electronic stimulation. Well, we’ve got the cure right here. Make sure your kids get outside.