Photo: Naturally glorious

Melinda took the winning photo for the week 1 30×30 photo contest — "Nature in my Neighbourhood."

By Dave the Gnome

Beautiful weather equals a beautiful week. My first 30×30 Nature Challenge week was a breeze! I forgot nature could be so glorious.

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A highlight: Spending the weekend at Bill's (a DSF colleague) home in the woods in Gibsons, B.C. We wandered leaf-strewn trails in the sun-drenched forest among mosses, ferns, giant cedar and broadleaf maple trees with leaves the size of dinner plates, and looked for young trout in the quiet pools of rushing Gibsons Creek.

Bill kept a running list of critters we saw. After all, nature without critters is like ice cream without sugar! His dog was as fascinated as we were with a six-inch, yellow banana slug and the teasing chatter of red squirrels.

Julie is a runner up for the week 1 photo contest — "Nature in my Neighbourhood."

Know that song "If you go out in the woods today you're in for big surprise"? My surprise was the sound of voices approaching that turned out to be a Belgian and two young Frenchmen. One said, "Hi, we go hike. You know where we see bear?" "Not exactly", Bill replied. I pointed up the mountain and suggested that, with some luck, they might find one that way. It's all about the adventure.

We continued on and were entertained by several feathered friends including a noisy pileated woodpecker (awesome bird the size of a crow), a bald eagle, varied thrushes, common crows, chickadees and the ubiquitous robins. And we did find a couple of young cutthroat trout in the crystal clear, icy cold pools of the creek — a reminder of the value of clean water. We sure are lucky to live near such bounty!

Back at the office, I'm embarrassed to report that my "Whaley Awesome" team is only in fifth place (out of ten)! The "Bush Babies" have taken an early lead with an average score of 94 per cent for getting outside each day. My team members got whaley confused about how to report their time and only scored 87 per cent. We've figured out the kinks so my team should have better results next week (otherwise there'll be one grumpy gnome).

Eighty-three staff and volunteers are participating in our 30×30 workplace challenge. Only a measly 58 have gone outside every day for at least 30 minutes — definitely room for improvement! You can get your workplace involved, too—check out our tips for 30×30 at work and download a workplace toolkit today.

Don't forget to submit your photos in nature each week for a chance to win a fabulous prize. I'll do my best "natural" pose and maybe make a guest appearance like I did for the top photos for "nature in my neighborhood."

From under the giant cedars,
Dave the Gnome

Tiffany is a runner up for the week 1 photo contest — "Nature in my Neighbourhood."
May 10, 2013

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