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Thousands expected to join 30×30 Nature Challenge during May

TORONTO - The David Suzuki Foundation is launching the 30×30 Nature Challenge today — a national campaign to get Canadians outside for 30 minutes a day for 30 days during May.

"I urge Canadians to join the 30×30 Nature Challenge," said David Suzuki, award-winning broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. "Commit to getting outside for 30 minutes a day, for 30 days. Whether it's in a local park or backyard garden, getting your daily dose of nature is a key ingredient for a happy, healthy lifestyle."

Canadians have become increasingly disconnected from the natural world. Symptoms of our nature deficit are easy to spot: stress, obesity, heart disease, asthma and depression. However, it is now well documented that time spent in nature can improve physical and mental health — dramatically reducing stress and mental fatigue while boosting creativity and vitality. Throughout the month of May, participants of the 30×30 Nature Challenge will receive tips about how to reap the benefits of nature by adding more green time to their schedules.

"Fitting a daily dose of green into our busy routines doesn't need to be daunting," said David Suzuki's Queen of Green, Tovah Paglaro. "It can be as simple as holding your next work meeting outdoors, having lunch in a park or walking the kids to school. And since you will have more energy and increased concentration, the time spent in nature will pay off in spades."

The 30×30 Nature Challenge is being presented in partnership with Genuine Health, with generous support from Cisco Systems Canada, Interface Canada, Harvest Power, the Arcangelo Rea Family Foundation and Nature's Path Foods. CBC Live Right Now will be supporting the 30×30 Nature Challenge through its new Get Outside campaign at LiveRightNow.ca starting May 1st.

Stewart Brown, CEO of Genuine Health said, "In 2012, we supported the launch of Your Brain on Nature, a revolutionary book that addressed the importance of nurturing our health with nature. The reality of modern life is that many of us spend several hours each day in front of electronic screens and very little time outside in green space. This is why, for the second year in a row, we are proud and excited to partner on the David Suzuki Foundation's 30×30 Nature Challenge!"

As part of the 30×30 Nature Challenge, the David Suzuki Foundation will work with university researchers to analyze how time in nature affects well-being. By filling out surveys before and after taking the 30×30 Challenge, participants will help to document the benefits of getting outside.

"Through this research, we will explore the impact nature has on our lives," said David Suzuki Foundation spokesperson Aryne Sheppard. "We will test the theory that being more connected to nature goes along with greater environmental awareness and ecologically friendly behaviour — not to mention feeling happier and healthier."

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For more information, please visit www.davidsuzuki.org/30×30challenge or contact:

Jode Roberts, David Suzuki Foundation (Toronto) cell.647 456 9752 jroberts@davidsuzuki.org
Manon Dubois Crôteau, Fondation David Suzuki (Montreal) 514-871-4932 poste.453 cell.514-679-0821
Theresa Beer, David Suzuki Foundation (Vancouver)
604-732-4228 ext.1239 cell.778.874.3396


Backgrounder

The 30×30 Nature Challenge

  • The David Suzuki Foundation is challenging Canadians to join the 30×30 Nature Challenge by signing up at www.davidsuzuki.org/30×30challenge.
  • Participants start by signing up as an individual or workplace at www.davidsuzuki.org/30×30challenge/sign-up
  • They will receive tips for how to add nature to their daily routine through the 30×30 website, hashtag #30×30challenge and David Suzuki Foundation social media (@davidsuzukiFDN and www.facebook.com/davidsuzuki)
  • As part of the 30×30 Nature Challenge, the David Suzuki Foundation will work with researchers at the University of Trent to analyze how time in nature affects well-being through surveys before and after the challenge.
  • Participants will also be eligible for weekly prizes through the 30×30 Photo Contest and if they complete the opening and closing surveys will be entered to win a $500 prize package from Genuine Health.

Benefits of connecting with nature

  • Spending an hour in nature can improve memory performance and attention span by 20 per cent. Natural views at work result in increased job satisfaction, better concentration, decreased mental fatigue and lower stress levels.
  • Plants in a workplace can reduce feelings of anger, anxiety and fatigue by about 40 per cent and stress levels by 50 per cent over three months.
  • Spending four nature-filled days away from electronic devices can increase your creativity by 50 per cent.
  • Only a few minutes of exposure to nature can immediately reduce stress levels, blood pressure and muscle tension.

30×30 Nature Challenge partners

  • Genuine Health
  • Cisco Systems Canada
  • Interface Canada
  • Harvest Power
  • The Arcangelo Rea Family Foundation
  • Nature's Path Foods
  • Bullfrog Power
  • Cathexis
  • Usability Matters
  • CBC LiveRightNow.ca

April 21, 2013
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2013/04/david-suzuki-foundation-challenges-canadians-to-get-outside/