weathering the winter + year end musings...here comes 2018!

Urban Wild Nature Park Ottawa Britannia West End

The shortest day of the year has just passed but it is hard to believe that as temperatures drop further below freezing that surely (albeit slowly) the days are getting longer.  Winter is typically a season to slow down and focus on indoor projects and hibernate away the cold, dark days and even here in the Wild. Here. office, I'm turning inward (a bit) to get down to some long overdue projects!  But I do hope that I continue to enjoy our outdoor winter walks and snowshoe adventures.  And possibly even get out for a few x-c ski outings!

2017 has been a wonderful year of learning and growing here.

I can't believe that it was only a year and a half ago that I pressed "publish" on the first new Wild. Here. post: Three Favourite Spots Downtown Ottawa (which BTW are still some of my preferred central green spots!).  Writing that post (after working on a "Weekly Dose of Wild" in 2015) was rather refreshing and truly clicked with the style of writing that I wanted to do.  And that post and the others that came after, have really propelled me down this path to where I am now.  From my soft launch to friends and family, to ramping up social media (which I'm still continually learning about), to finding the right way to promote this blog (that reflects my values and style and feels "real" rather than sales gimmicky), to starting collaborations with friends that have been so much fun, it's been quite an amazing journey and I'm truly looking forward to what's next in the expansion of my offerings and products.

So in the tradition of reviewing the year's activities and looking forward to what's next, here's a little round up of favourites, popular posts and surprising collaborations!


FAVOURITE NATURE POSTS TO WRITE

It's not really surprising that two of my favourite posts to write were on wildflowers.  I had so much fun reflecting on the beautiful blooms that bring me joy that I had to write not one but two posts about the florals that grace us with their beauty every year.  (The other reason was of course the difficulty in narrowing my favourites down to just ten!)
10 (plus) Favourite Wildflowers & the follow up 10 (more) Favourite Wildflowers

Another incredible (eye-opening) and educational post to write was in regards to the plethora of First Nation events and programs that every one in Ottawa could join in on.  And while the title won't ever attract a huge SEO, I wanted it to reflect the importance of this post:
Honouring Unceded Algonquin Lands

Another great post to put together was the Guest Post that I wrote for Eva Barrows Blog as it was an interesting perspective to take - thinking more about the bigger natural attractions in Ottawa rather than the hidden unique greenspaces that I gravitate towards here in the city.
Scenic Nature spots are A Must Do When Visiting Ottawa

And finally I always like a good round-up and it was so much fun to put together one on Ottawa Nature Blogs - as there are quite a few that are worth bookmarking to include in your weekly feed.  From musings on river culture to field observations of a very small suburban greenspace patch, they provide a unique urban nature vantage on our city!
Local Ottawa Urban Nature Blogs for your reading pleasure!


MOST POPULAR URBAN NATURE POSTS

For 2017 the "most popular Wild. Here. post" goes to: Ottawa Urban Nature Lovers Bucket List*, which was a joy to write as I really wanted to shine a light on some of the smaller, overlooked nature spots in the city.  It was shared widely on Facebook and still to this day is visited regularly.  I also supplemented this post with two updates for autumn and winter as I hadn't provided as many ideas for these two seasons.

The second most popular post has been a more recent addition but quickly surpassed the "Number of Visits" of many other posts I had written this year: Mindful Modalities to Connect to Nature.  Nature therapy is becoming a very popular stress-reduction and restorative modality - Forest Bathing (Shinrin Yoku) being the most widely known so it's not surprising that this one resonated with readers and it was great to feature some newer modalities and initiatives!

And another top-five post was Crabapple Trees: The Flowering Tree Everyone Loves to Hate (Not!) (thanks to much appreciated social media shares by the Friends of the Farm).  With the enthusiasm for this post, I'm planning to profile another flowering tree (one of my faves!) in 2018!  BTW, the Friends of the Central Experimental Farm provide amazing programming for nature lovers in the Arboretum (which is such a nature gem in the heart of our city) along with all the extensive volunteer hands they provide in taking care of this lovely landscaped space (doing pruning, weeding, digging, watering, recording observations, etc).  This greenspace would not be the same without them!  So if you love the farm consider supporting them!

Finally an honourable mention must go the Ottawa Nature Volunteer Resource List page.  I was deeply grateful for the high profile that this page received due to it being shared by other Ottawa media.  It was a labour of love to put together as I wanted to feature volunteering opportunities that were local (close to home) and/or could be done as a "one off" which would make it easier for people to consider volunteering both outdoors and to connect to nature.  This is now the second most popular page/post: "Lend a Hand For Nature - Ottawa Volunteering".

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*I think at some point in the future there will have to be an Update to the Bucket List so that I can create a consolidated list (from the three posts) for both tourists and locals alike.  What do you think?  Can we create a list of Top 50 Urban Nature Spots & Experiences in Ottawa?


OTTAWA NATURE COLLABORATIONS: LARGE and SMALL

As mentioned in my spring nature blog post we were fortunate to have two supportive collaborations this year with Sustainable Enterprise Alliance (Ottawa) - working on the June Scavenger Bike Hunt and with Rout/e Footpress (along with Grunge Papers) through the CSArt Ottawa project - helping to plant poetry in the city.  It was great to work with different organizations and businesses and to help connect more people in Ottawa to the natural surroundings and (always a bonus) the people I got to work with were wonderful!

Beyond those two larger collaborations, there were some other simple and generous collaborative efforts that we are grateful for:

WHAT TO SAY ABOUT 2018?

Our third spring of writing for this blog will be in 2018 and it still feels like we've just scratched the surface.  There are just so many other things I (Katherine, as the main writer) want to cover!  

It was a thrill to be able to include three new cities in 2017, with one provided by our guest blogger Eva Barrows.  It's so great to be able to highlight the opportunities to connect to nature within a city and it's amazing to see what different cities offer in terms of nature outings and experiences!  So hopefully we can find a few more guest post collaborations in the new year along with considering the potential for visiting some new cities in 2018 ourselves.  

I also want to do another Earth Day project and possibly features some other international days such as Forest Day, World Cities Day or even International Volunteer Day.  These themes remind us to stop and take a break during out busy days and consider bigger ideas and important messages.  And they also introduce us to new concepts and opportunities.  I can't wait to explore some of these themes!

The "Getting Out" series and "Wild. Here. Explore" series will be continued along with some new "How to" series and some other features.  And next year will be the first year of nature connection products for Wild. Here. - so stay tuned!!

And thanks as always for all the likes, shares, comments and support!  We really want to help YOU connect to nature and enjoy the wild right outside your doorstep in Ottawa and in other cities!  Let us know if there are any nearby nature interests you'd like us to write about.


Enjoy Your Urban Wilding!




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