5 ways to enjoy nature in the winter

Ahh winter, the one season that seems to come and stay longer than any other. Some days are mild with a warm chinook, other days it’s so cold, your coffee is iced by the time you get to work (true story). And while winter may be fun for those snowboarders and skiers who enjoy the cold and snow, I think it’s safe to say that most of us could do without it. Winter is important for many reasons, plants need dormant time so that they can go into power saver mode to fuel up for the spring, winter helps control bug populations especially when it is a harsh winter and in a way it resets our body clocks so that we rest more and fall asleep easier. 

While it may not be everyone’s favourite season, it is important in our natural world. There are ways to make it a little more enjoyable, maybe a tropical vacation or there are a few things you can do in your own backyard. Here are five ways that you can enjoy winter in Lethbridge. 

  1. Winter walks. I know this one sounds chilly, but trust me winter is a great time to explore. Everything looks so different and magical with the snow blanketing everything. The river valley is an easy place to start, there are lots of well marked trails for you to follow and it’s right within the city. Looking for a little more adventure, try heading to Waterton or the Crowsnest Pass for a day hike. Make sure you are bundled up and have the proper footwear for your magical day out. The snow capped mountains and frozen falls won’t disappoint.  
  1. Tobogganing. Even though we live on the prairies with few hills around, there are some great tobogganing spots in town and close to town. Usually it’s the kids that want to go sledding, but the adults end up having just as much fun. It’s a classic that makes you forget about the cold and how much time has passed until it’s dark out of nowhere and it’s time to go home. If you don’t have any sleds, I would highly recommend buying a couple and testing them out this winter. 
  1. Bird counting & bird trees. On the days that are just too cold to go outside, set up your cozy spot in front of the window and watch for wildlife. The most abundant thing you’ll see is birds, flying and looking for food. See how many different species you can recognize or use a birding app to see if you can learn a few more. Want to help out our flying friends this winter? Dress up one of your trees or bushes with bird suet and other edible treats made for wildlife. The Blue Jays love peanuts and you’ll be sure to attract some if you leave them out! Try using different types to attract different bird species and you’ll soon have a whole flock of your own.
  1. Shovel your neighbours sidewalks. What’s a better way to spend a winter afternoon than by shovelling your neighbours sidewalks. You’ll get to work off a bit of those hearty meals by doing some physical activity and you’ll be doing a good deed. Winter is hard on everyone and if you can brighten someone’s day just a little, it will probably brighten your day as well. Be a snow angel and keep those sidewalks clean, so everyone can enjoy a winter walk safely. 
  1. Have a warm drink outside. Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean that the patio furniture needs to be put away. Okay, you may want to store some of the more flimsy lawn chairs, but pull them out every now and again. Warm up some hot chocolate or a nice gingerbread latte and enjoy the days that aren’t -40℃ by sitting in your backyard or even down in the river valley. If you’re brave enough and have a fire pit, have a winter wiener roast. You’ll stay cozy by the fire and get to spend some time outside, relieving some of that winter stir crazy we all get.  

Winter can be a down right pain in the butt most years with all the snow, cold warnings and frosted windshields. However, there are ways to enjoy the good parts of winter. These are just a few simple ideas to get you outside and moving come the bleakest part of the year. Feel free to take these one step further and go snowshoeing or snowboarding this winter. While it may not feel like it sometimes, there are endless opportunities for fun this winter!