Slate of 2017-18 Hike NS Courses & Workshops Released

Hike NS’s schedule of courses and workshops across Nova Scotia is now available for 2017-18. Beginning in June through to February, they range from how to share nature with children to how to be a hike leader to navigation. 

Continue reading “Slate of 2017-18 Hike NS Courses & Workshops Released”

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Hike NS Wins Bluenose Achievement Award

Hike NS was honoured to receive the Bluenose Achievement Award for its Re-Connecting with Nature Workshop series from Recreation Nova Scotia at its annual conference on September 28 in Pictou County.

The Bluenose Achievement Award recognizes an individual or community group that provides/supports activities and services that successfully achieves the values and benefits of recreation. The Re-Connecting with Nature workshop is a hands-on day of adventure to improve participants’ ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth. Since the spring of 2015, 13 workshops have been offered across the province to almost 150 youth group leaders, recreation and camp staff, teachers, early childhood educators, parents and concerned citizens. The workshop series is a partnership of Hike NS with the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage and Acadia University.

Pictured receiving the award above from left to right are: Garnet McLaughlin (Hike NS President), Janet Barlow (Hike NS Executive Director) and George Taylor (a Re-Connecting with Nature Workshop Instructor). On the right is Meg Cuming (Recreation NS President) presenting the award.

Re-Connecting with Nature Workshop Oct. 17, Halifax

WorkshopGraphic-ReconnectingThe Re-Connecting with Nature workshop is a hands-on day of outdoor adventure to improve your ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth. The workshop is suitable for youth group leaders, recreation and camp staff, teachers, early childhood educators, parents and concerned citizens. The aim is to increase leadership capacity in Nova Scotia in order to re-connect children and youth with nature. Continue reading “Re-Connecting with Nature Workshop Oct. 17, Halifax”

Re-Connecting with Nature Workshops June 12-24

WorkshopGraphic-ReconnectingThe Re-Connecting with Nature workshop is a hands-on day of outdoor adventure to improve your ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth. The workshop is suitable for youth group leaders, recreation and camp staff, teachers, early childhood educators, parents and concerned citizens. The aim is to increase leadership capacity in Nova Scotia in order to re-connect children and youth with nature. Participants will improve their leadership skills, gain practical activity ideas, network with like-minded folks and have fun in nature. The workshop is offered through Hike Nova Scotia in partnership with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness with support from Acadia University.

Workshops will take place: June 12 in Truro; June 13 in Halifax; June 16 in Wolfville; June 19 in Barrachois; June 20 in Antigonish; and June 24 in Lunenburg. The workshop cost is $50 ($40 for members of Hike Nova Scotia). A $25 subsidy is available for parents not associated with an organization and for volunteer leaders. Registration includes a workshop manual and a one-year membership with Hike Nova Scotia. Learn more and register here.

Young Hiker Challenge

Calling all young hikers (and wannabe hikers)! Hike Nova Scotia challenges children and youth to get out on the trails. Keep track of the distances you hike and you could earn the Hiker Distance Award Badge! Tally these kilometres IMG_0877[1]-smallerwithin one year: ages 5 to 8: 15 km; ages 9 to 14: 30 km; ages 15 to adult: 45 km. No pre-registration is necessary for the Young Hiker Challenge, simply start hiking and keep track of how far you go! Use our special Youth Logbook to record your hikes. Youth that earn a patch by March 1, 2014 qualify for a prize draw for a $100 gift card. Hike NS thanks the IWK Community Grants and MEC for their support. Learn more here.

Hike NS Fall Guided Hike Series: Youth and Family Theme

Hike Nova ScotiaP4204819 and eight host organizations across the province have partnered up to offer the 2013 Fall Guided Hike series in September and October. There are 17 hikes led by local folks and participants qualify to win “trail prizes.” This year, many of the hikes have a Youth & Family Theme, with some featuring special activities for children and youth. Hike NS thanks its partners for organizing the hikes on the ground and to Backroad Mapbooks for its donations. Check out the list of events here.

Call for Groups to Organize Fall Guided Hikes: Youth and Family Theme

August 10, 2013 Deadline

Once again, Hike NS invites groups across NS to partner with it on delivering fall guided hikes in September and October of 2013. The purpose of the events is to: 1) get more people in NS hiking; 2) highlight local trails and increase their use; and 3) promote Hike NS and local trail/hiking groups and other partnering organizations. During the 2012 Fall Guided Hike series, 660 people attended 29 hikes organized locally by nine partnering groups.

Youth & Family Theme: This year, we’re encouraging hike host organizations to schedule a youth and family hike, one that is suited to families with children and youth. This means offering a hike of a length and difficulty level suited to children and youth and with activities attractive to kids. Hike NS will provide resources for activities to offer on hikes.

If you and your local organization would like to organize a hike, learn more and register your hike(s) online here no later than AUGUST 10, 2013.

2nd Tantallon Sparks Earn Hiking Patches

Hiking is where it’s at for the 2nd Tantallon Sparks Girl Guide unit. Over the last year, six of the Sparks took the Youth Hiker Distance Award Challenge in order to earn patches, or badges. For Girl Guides, there is a special challenge. Not only do they have to tally at least 15 km of hiking, but they also have to complete at least two of a list of other activities related to hiking. The 2nd Tantallon Sparks unit hiked more than 15 km on several occassions and they:

  • Researched and created a checklist of things you should bring on a hike to be safe and comfortable
  • Took part in a “Hug-A-Tree and Survive”
  • Learned about Leave No Trace Principles

Here are some photos of their hiking adventures:

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Guides jot down every step for hiking challenge

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The 4th Hammonds Plains Guides take a hike on a local trail as part of the Hiker Distance Award Challenge to earn a crest.
Girl Guides in Nova Scotia have hiked with new purpose over the last two years.

It’s due to a Hiker Distance Award program that challenges the girls, and their leaders, to log their kilometres as they pound the trails. The crest is a success with the kids and a boon for guide leaders who might not have hit the paths as frequently.

“I thought it was great, because I’m not an outdoorsy type other than what I have to do,” said Mary Louise Johnson, a leader with the 1st Aylesford Pathfinders. “I love camping. We always go camping two or three times, but I don’t always focus on that and I should. And I thought it was great because it gave us the excuse. Like: ‘OK girls, we really need to do this.’”

To earn the crest, girls aged 5 to 8  must hike 15 kilometres, ages 9 to 14 must accumulate 30 kilometres, while those 15 and over must walk 45 kilometres. They must also do other activities related to the hikes, such as creating a scrapbook on the experience or completing a nature program. Some of the requirements can be used toward other badges in the Girl Guides program.

Three of her pathfinders and two leaders earned the crest last year, said Johnson.

The Aylesford group geocached — a type of treasure hunt using GPS or smartphones — and roamed the Fundy shoreline to complete their distances.

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The 1st Aylesford Pathfinders learn about geocaching for the Hiker Distance Award Challenge.

Other units did night hikes with glow sticks, or cooked on the trail to add interest to their outings.

One group of Hammonds Plains guides, while out on a winter hike in -10 degree weather, wrapped hot dogs in tin foil, placed them in empty milk cartons and dropped them in the campfire. When the cartons burned away, presto. Lunch.

It was all part of making each hike fun, said Cathy Langille, unit guider with the 4th Hammonds Plains.

“We just tried to make it different and tried to change it up a bit, and always at a different spot too. It’s amazing the number of places to hike within 30 minutes drive of your house.”

Nine guides in Langille’s group earned the crest last year.

The Hiker Distance Award program, coordinated by Hike Nova Scotia, also offers patches to youth outside the Girl Guides organization. Apart from the youth distances, pins are available for adults who hit the 150-, 250- and 500-kilometre marks.

The logbooks seem to spur on hiking. Johnson said recording the distance to earn the patch can motivate young people otherwise drawn to stay inside or hang out in malls with their friends.

The kids still get to talk with their friends, but with an added benefit. “They are getting the reward of being outside,” said Johnson.

“And at the end of it there is the badge besides. They are getting two rewards.”

Tara MacDonald, a unit guider with 5th Hammonds Plains, agrees. Some of her guides completed the necessary mileage on their own over the summer. She credits the need to record the distance.

“Just having that booklet laying around, that little logbook. It’s going ‘Yeah, maybe I should go on a hike today, let’s go out,’” said MacDonald. “I had some girls saying,

‘I don’t think we would have done it if they didn’t have that incentive to log that hike, and work toward the ultimate goal.’”

Article written by David Redwood. For more information on the Hiker Distance Award program visit http://www.hikenovascotia.ca/projects.

Pay off worth it for hiking families

By David Redwood, for Hike Nova Scotia

Barely thirty seconds into a hike that would last an hour, Robbie Hudson stops, crouches into a ball and peers carefully over his knees at the ground.

“Slugs!” shouts the four-year-old.

His family pays no mind. They are already bounding down the trail that leads into the coastal barrens around Prospect, near Halifax. Two minutes later Robbie catches up to his two sisters who have climbed some granite rocks to try and push a towering boulder off of its perch.

“Push! Push!” they squeal.

Despite the after-dinner hour there is no lack of energy. Hiking for the Hudson family is a common part of their evening routine.

“Every time they come, and they’ve been here maybe 100 times, they come and find new things, or find a new hole, or a new way of climbing up something,” said the children’s father, Mike Hudson. This evening Mike and his wife Cordele were out with Robbie and daughters Mary-Anne, 2, and Charlotte, 6.

Seeing families together on hiking trails is not uncommon. But ensuring the kids want to do it again and again means parents must find ways to keep the excitement high and tears, tantrums and exhaustion to a minimum.

For children, the thrill of discovery is key, said Steven Rolls, a Cape Bretoner who has a section on hiking with kids on his blog Moosebait.com.

“Everyone says, ‘Oh, my kid gets tired, I have to carry them.’ They don’t get tired, they get bored. And when they get bored, that’s the first thing they’ll say: ‘I’m tired, my legs are sore.’ But if there’s any little spark of interest or excitement, they are on the go again.”

Rolls remembers his son not wanting to come on a three-kilometre hike the family had planned.

“He had just gotten a Wii — he kind of wanted to stay home. The first thing we told him was that the trail we were going on was the route the English soldiers took when they attacked the fortress of Louisbourg. And he was in the car in five minutes.”

The history fuelled the hike.

“The whole trail he was pretending he was dragging a cannon,” Rolls said.

He said parents don’t need to be historians or naturalists to make a hike successful. Look up three plants or flowers on the Internet before you head out, he suggests.

“You will be a hero, because you will know the name. You will spot something and ‘Oh, that’s Indian Pipe. And they’ll go, ‘Wow!’”

He also said short loops or a network of interconnected trails are often better suited for families than lengthy point-to-point routes. Parents should also lower expectations on how much distance will be covered.

No walk is perfect. Crying, scrapes and arguments can occur. But the payoff is worth it, said Cordele, when asked what parents get out of hiking with young ones.

“Making the memories and spending the time,” she said. “And knowing that the kids are being healthy and they are building muscles and coordination that will just help them their whole life.”

For more information on hiking, walking and snowshoeing contact Hike Nova Scotia through  www.hikenovascotia.ca.

Photo:The Hudson family walks High Head Trail near Prospect, N.S. In the foreground, from left: Robbie, Mike (holding their pet dog, Colonel) and Charlotte. Behind them, Cordele is helping two-year-old Mary-Anne search for crabs in the water. Photo credit: David Redwood