Regina celebrates a socially-distant Earth Day: ‘Nature starts at your back door’

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WATCH: In a time of quarantine and social distancing, being outdoors isn't cancelled. Allison Bamford has the story – Apr 22, 2020

Earth Day is typically marked by public gatherings and school kids taking time out of class to pick up garbage throughout the community.

While that’s not possible due to social distancing and self-isolation, that doesn’t mean going outside is cancelled.

“Your outdoor space, your lawn and landscape is part of your home. It’s part of your safe space,” said Kris Kiser, Turfmutt Foundation president and CEO.

READ MORE: Coronavirus pandemic affects 50th Earth Day activities in Oshawa

The Turfmutt Foundation encourages outdoor education through online lesson plans with Scholastic — teaching sustainability, pollinator protection and ecosystems to kids.

“We want families and kids to understand that we’re all interconnected, no one is an island. We’re all in this together,” Kiser said.

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Kiser is asking families to take time and explore their backyards on Earth Day. Part of that includes asking questions about the different plants, animals and insects they find outside.

READ MORE: The benefits of growing a garden during the COVID-19 crisis

“You can configure your outdoor space to fit your needs, but what we want you to think about is taking into account nature’s needs,” Kiser said.

“Nature starts at your back door.”

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COVID-19 pandemic impacts Earth Day 50 year anniversary – Apr 22, 2020

The best way to address nature’s needs is to grow the right plants that promote pollinators, like birds and bees, according to Kiser.

Local greenhouses are still open during the pandemic, with many operating online or through curbside pickup.

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READ MORE: More urban gardens encouraged to help save bees

Dutch Growers, a Saskatchewan-based greenhouse operating through online orders, plans to open up to limited in-store traffic on May 1.

Karen Van Duyvendyk, co-owner of Dutch Growers, said she’s fielded more questions than usual from people looking to start their own gardens amid the pandemic.

“I would tell a beginner to get their areas prepped now that it’s warm,” Van Duyvendyk said. “Use this time with your family to sit down and decide what fruits and vegetables you want to have in your garden this year.”

READ MORE: Edmonton greenhouse sees spike in green thumbs amid COVID-19 pandemic

Plan now and plant later, according to Van Duyvendyk, who said plants shouldn’t go outside until the end of May.

She said seeds can be “tricky” for green gardeners, and recommends beginners buy pre-potted vegetables.

For parents looking to start gardens with their kids, Van Duyvendyk suggests herbs.

“They are not only tactile, but they’re so fragrant and they’re usable immediately.”

Van Duyvendyk said it’s a great way to grow a little joy in a time of uncertainty, while helping the earth along the way.

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“If anything, this pandemic has shown us that the earth is a powerful, living thing and that we need to respect that,” Van Duyvendyk said.

“The best way to respect that is to recycle and to reuse and to plant living things.”

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