Vitamin N Challenge – Day 1

Vitamin N Challenge

Have you signed up yet for the Vitamin N Challenge?

The Children and Nature Network is offering a FREE Vitamin N challenge for the months of July and August. You take a pledge for what activity you will do and how often and then share in 1 or all of the following 3 ways:

  1. Share on Instagram with the hashtag #vitaminN2022
  2. You can share your story (750 words or less) and minimum of 1 photo and email [email protected]childrenandnature.org
  3. Join The Trailhead, their free online community to connect with others taking the challenge to help cheer one another along.

For more details on this challenge, please visit: https://www.childrenandnature.org/resources/vitaminn/.

My Pledge

I downloaded the pdf and filled out the pledge to get outdoors for a mindful walk for 30 minutes/day for 26 days in July.

Key Words and Acknowledgement for Day 1

The words: Adventure, Awake and Awe came in as focus words for my day. My walk was at the beautiful Glenbow Ranch which is only 15 minutes away from where I live. I want to acknowledge that this location is on the traditional lands of the past, present, and future generations of the Stoney Nakoda Nations, the Tsuut’ina, the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, and Piikani), and the Metis Nation (Region 3) who help steward these lands, and honour and celebrate this place.

What made this walk extra special was it was also on July 1, Canada Day. For me, this is a time of acknowledging and respecting ALL living beings. It is my hope that we stop, look and listen with our heart to all that nature is showing us to pave the path forward.

Results from Day 1: Lessons from a Rose

I was THRILLED to come across signage that had been made by students. Some had drawn what they had seen as well as made reflective comments. They had done the research to find out that the rose is an important food source for pollinators. What I loved the most, was they took it a step further to state the following:

“In researching this plant, it made us remember that roses and thorns are equally important to this plant. In the world, everything can not be just roses all the time. There needs to be thorns to balance things out.”

Nature teaches us so much about life in general. Mother Nature is truly one of the best life coaches out there with over 4.5 billion years of experience. She has just a wee bit to teach us, and we should be honouring and respecting her wisdom.

Lessons from a Beaver

Again, the drawing and the reflections from what the beaver has to share with us, touched me deeply.

“Not everyone has to be perfect because the beaver is not very good at seeing or hearing, but he is still able to survive and thrive.”

Lessons from an American Badger

The learning from the American Badger was to not judge a book by its cover. Love it! There were so many more signs, but you get the idea of how we can look more deeply at what nature is sharing with us when we slow down enough to take in this wisdom.

Awesome Wildflowers

These Three Flowered Avens make me giggle every time I see them. After they bloom, their pink feathery seed heads look to me like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. They have been nicknamed Prairie Smoke and also Old Man’s Whiskers! What do you think they look like?

What is also unusual about these early spring flowering plants is that their basal leaves stay green throughout the winter.

The Blackfoot called this plant Wudzi-eh-kay, or buffalo flower. It is also called Buffalo Bean, Golden Bean and Prairie Bean. It is part of the pea family.

The appearance of these blossoms indicated that the time was prime for hunting buffalo. This is a perfect example of the knowledge of Phenology (nature’s calendar).

The bean can also be used to create a yellow dye, but do not eat them as they are toxic.

This white flower is an Anemone. To find it growing here all on its own amongst all these rocks reinforced the words Resilience and Tenacity for me.

This is called a Harebell but they are also called Bluebells. I love to call them Faery Bells!
This Brown Eyed Susan comes in a variety of colours. It is also called a Blanket Flower. Doesn’t it look like sunshine on a stem?
This is purple locoweed. Do not let this pretty plant fool you. It is very toxic to animals.

Conclusions

After 2 hours of walking and taking in all the incredible scenery, scents and sounds, I felt that every single one of my senses had been awoken. I was able to inhale the sweet scent of American Silverberry (also known as Wolf Willow). I saw butterflies of all colours, shapes and sizes dance along playfully beside me. My eyes were able to feast on all the beautiful wildflowers as well as the many shades of green. My ears took in the symphony of soothing sounds created by a gentle wind, cheery birdsong and the flowing river.

A quote came in for me by Elonora Duse, “If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”

What an OUTSTANDING Day 1 of this Vitamin N challenge. Feeling full of Awe at being Awake to the wonders of nature. What did you do for your challenge?