Nature defines us as Canadians, from learning to skate on a frozen pond, to going on a canoe trip; the desire to explore the outdoors is ingrained in us. However, this national identity is at risk if we don’t act now to protect these special spaces from disappearing.

© Robert Ginsberg

Canada endorsed the United Nations target to protect at least 17 percent of the planet’s land and inland waters by 2020. We have a lot of work to do if we are going to reach the target and time is running out. That’s why Ontario Nature launched our Protected Places Campaign. You can visit our Protected Places page to learn more about the campaign and to sign the Protected Places Declaration.

We asked what protected places meant to you and received an overwhelming number of comments in our Protected Places guestbook. We heard you loud and clear. And we agree!

Our guestbook was quickly filled with comments from people like you sharing heartfelt stories about their love for nature and why we must protect it. The stories shared have ranged from memories of childhoods spent traversing Ontario parks, to expressing the love of a natural refuge in people’s own backyards.

Your comments have also addressed the importance of establishing protected places for the preservation of at-risk species that are otherwise vulnerable to becoming relics of the past if we do nothing to protect their habitats.

Boreal Forest © Abby Swann

It’s a comment like Barb Crawford’s that embody the spirit of the campaign. Protected places are important not only so we can continue to enjoy nature, but so that future generations can too:

Every time I walk in a green space, whether in the city or in the wilderness, I am physically reminded of how integral it is to life. And by ’Life‘ I mean true health and well-being. Anyone with children in their lives needs to connect the dots to this. Let’s make this legacy one where they speak of our generation as one that paid attention and made changes. It is possible! Barb Crawford

Your stories help bring the campaign to life and inspire us all to continue pushing to ensure we reach that 17 percent. Why do you care about protected places? There are countless inspirational stories in our guestbook and we encourage you to read through the comments and share your own. Together as a collective voice, we can make a difference for nature.

Share your story in the Protected Places Guestbook today.

Have you signed the Protected Places Declaration? You can help protect the wild spaces you love! To learn more and sign the declaration visit: protected-places.good.do/OntarioNature/declaration.

Alex joined Ontario Nature in August 2018 as a Communications Intern. He holds a B.A. in political science from Dalhousie University, and a graduate certificate in corporate communications and public relations from Centennial College.

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