Amazing Places Project Cures Nature Deficit Disorder

Posted July 3rd 2014

The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve has just wrapped up the launch of a series of 8 videos showcasing some of its Amazing Places, which will no doubt incite visitors and residents alike to spend some time in the great outdoors this summer discovering the region’s hidden gems.

Thanks to an interactive new website – FBRAmazingplaces.ca – it is now possible to not only discover the Fundy Biosphere Reserve’s fantastic landscapes and natural phenomena through eye catching Planet Earth-style videos, but also access maps, trail descriptions as well as Google Earth information on each destination in order to plan hiking, camping and day trips to visit each Amazing Place. The new website and videos are the results of a collaboration between Craig Norris of VIDEOBAND and FBR Conservation Program Manager Ben Phillips and were made possible thanks to financial support from Mountain Equipment Co-op, the New Brunswick Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities and Parks Canada. The videos were launched publicly this past spring, with a new video being released each week through May to the end of June 2014. All videos and related content for each destination and trail is now thus available for viewers – just in time to start planning summer activities and vacation ideas.

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The Amazing Places website provides access to spectacular short nature documentaries showcasing the beauty as well as educating on the flora and fauna of each destination.

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Detailed trail information helps plan hiking, camping and day trips to visit each Amazing Place, including hiking difficulty, access to camping sites and access potable water. Google Earth maps even let visitors check out a trail’s topography trail prior to setting off on their adventure.

“Amazing Places encourages people to spend more time outdoors, discovering all these great places that we have right in our own backyard”, says FBR Conservation Manager Ben Phillips. “Busy lives, a bombardment of advertising and too much screen time are causing what researchers refer to as ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’. The result of less time spent outdoors often has physical health implications, but we’re now recognizing the huge mental health impacts. The research is showing your brain shifts into a kind of restorative mode when in nature. With this project, we’re approaching people through their screens with inspirational videos to remind them to reconnect with nature.”

“We hope our project will inspire a sense of appreciation for nature and thus the desire to want to protect it, which is well in line with our conservation, sustainable development and capacity building objectives”, adds FBR Executive Director Megan de Graaf. “Our Amazing Places project have already gathered huge amount of public interest, so much so that our colleagues in other biosphere reserves throughout Canada, namely in Ontario, have expressed an interest to implement a similar initiative in their own regions.”

Residents as well as visitors to the region are thus invited to check out the Fundy Biosphere’s Amazing Places at FBRAmazingPlaces.ca. The Fundy Biosphere Reserve also invites the public to share photos of themselves visiting the Amazing Places on its Facebook page.