According to Nature Canada, before the Covid-19 pandemic, Canadians were spending 90% of their time indoors. Additionally, an average of 8 hours per day was spent on some form of digital technology. While numerous studies discuss the impacts of high amounts of screen-time on our health, the impacts of prolonged isolation from the pandemic are far-reaching. In early 2020, the UN released a concerning report which highlights the numerous impacts of Covid-19 on women’s health and wellbeing. From economic and health impacts to unpaid care work and gender-based violence, Covid-19 has proved to have deeper implications. Further, a literature review published in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening in 2014 studied 41 articles relating to fear of crime in urban green spaces. This study found that 50% of the articles reviewed emphasized a higher fear among women including teenage girls. If women are afraid to be in urban green spaces, how does this fear impact their relationship to the environment?
The goal of Project Hike is to encourage and provide an opportunity for women who are in vulnerable situations to (re)connect to themselves, community, and the natural world through physical activity and group connection outside of the city.
The intended outcomes are:
1) Enhance social wellbeing by removing barriers to participation
2) Improve physical activity through the hiking program
3) Enhance mental health by developing and strengthening coping skills
4) Improve sense of belonging through communal exploration of nature
5) Reduce fear associated with wilderness areas
Over the course of 6-weeks, we will provide a weekly, guided hike outside of St. John's. By providing transportation and childcare, women are able to participate with reduced barriers. These hikes will cumulatively build skills for the women through the guidance of the applicant focusing on increased (re)connection to nature and community.
A short survey will be administered on physical and emotional health which will be given to get a sense of development and growth from the group at the beginning and end of the program.
Nature Canada. “The Health Impacts of Too Much Screen Time.” Nature Canada, 2019.
Sreetheran, Maruthaveeran and Cecil C. Konijnendijk van den Bosch. “A socio-ecological exploration of fear of crime in urban green spaces – A systematic review.” Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 13 (2014): 1-18.
United Nations. "The Impact of Covid-19 on Women," United Nations, 2020.