Show Us Your Spring

How to enjoy nature with a light footprint

Spring is a great time to get outside – here’s how you can do it while respecting nature.

Spring is a great time to get outside – here’s how you can do it while respecting nature

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images )

Spring is a much-awaited season for Canadians across the country. It's the season of waking up and warming up, and for many of us, it's time to get outside and enjoy the return of wildlife, sunshine, and flowers!

Over the last month, we have been asking Canadians to share their spring with us using the hashtag #HelloSpringCBC and we have received spectacular submissions from across the country. It has been so exciting to see the nature that you have shared with us while out strolling, walking, jogging, and biking, taking in the spectacular sights, sounds and smells of a Canadian spring in full force.

As the weather continues to warm up, here are some tips on how you can be a nature steward while exploring your local natural areas.

1. Stay on the trail

Canadians have access to some of the most beautiful trail systems in the world and we have been seeing many Canadians getting outside and enjoying them. To keep our trails and the surrounding nature in great shape, it's important to stay on the trail when possible to reduce erosion and avoid trampling small plants and insects. If you stray from the trail, you may also pick up some unwanted pests, like ticks. 

Even animals have their own trail system that they follow – like these moose!

Gary Bajus captured this photo of a moose and its two babies in Manitoba.

2. Pick up after yourself

While we know that we shouldn't be littering in nature (or anywhere for that matter!), it is especially important to be careful about not dropping little bits of garbage or food when out and about exploring nature to keep our wildlife safe. Be sure to pack out any garbage, wrappers, or food scraps that you bring outside with you.

Lots of critters, big and small, are curious about humans and may try to eat garbage!

3. Keep a safe distance from wildlife

There are some animals, like bears, that we all know we need to stay away from because they can be dangerous. Even if you don't feel threatened by an animal though, they might be more dangerous than you think. At the same time, you can come off as very threatening to wildlife, and disturbing animals can be dangerous for them and their babies. For the best wildlife viewing experiences, grab a pair of binoculars or a telephoto lens to observe wild animals in their natural habitat from a safe distance.

These adorable goslings may not be very intimidating but you should always keep your distance!

Thanks to Jimmy MacDonald from Saskatchewan for sending in this beautiful photo.

4. Be quiet and listen to the sounds of nature

This spring especially, we have been seeing Canadians flocking to public spaces to take a much-needed breath of fresh air after the long, unexpected winter it has been. With more people outside, it can quickly become noisy, making it more difficult to participate in activities like birding or to enjoy the natural sounds and unique quiet that nature has to offer. Be respectful of other visitors and of the wildlife by keeping your voice low and loud noises to a minimum.

We can almost hear this sparrow singing through this picture! 

@arweller22 sent in these photos of a white-crowned sparrow singing its heart out in Nanaimo, B.C. 

5. Take only pictures

Finally, one of the best ways to do your part to protect nature is to not take anything with you when you leave, other than your spectacular photos! As tempting as it may be to bring home the beautiful flowers you see on the side of the trail, your best bet is to leave them where you found them for others to enjoy — including pollinators and other wildlife that rely on flowering plants. But if you take a photo, we would love to see it!

During these last few weeks of spring, be sure to share your pictures with us at the bottom of this page or on social media using the hashtag #HelloSpringCBC.

At the end of the day, a photo will last longer than a picked flower.

Robert Metcalfe snapped this beautiful photo of a yellow lady's slipper in Stoney Lake, ON.