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Online hike guides help families explore lesser-known green spaces in Regina

Click to play video 'Online hike guides help families explore lesser-known green spaces in Regina' Online hike guides help families explore lesser-known green spaces in Regina
WATCH: A local nature group has created a series of self-guided hikes in little-known areas around Regina.

Shannon Chernick and her sons didn’t have to go far to find nature.

On a dock in McKell Wascana Conservation Park, located within Regina city limit, the boys discovered snails, leeches and minnows. On the walk there, they spotted 14 different kinds of native plants.

“The great thing about going on a hike with kids is they are out in nature, they can be exactly who they are and explore and run and stop and look,” said Chernick, the youth engagement co-ordinator for Nature Regina.

Read more: What to watch for while wandering Regina’s Wascana Park this summer

The 171-acre park space is the latest local destination featured in Nature Regina’s Get Outside! Outdoor Adventure Family Hike Guides.

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Chernick said the idea came while out on a walk with her 12-year-old son, Damon, who asked if they could find a way to share their favourite hikes to inspire others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of these places people don’t know about, and they’re getting to discover what’s cool here in Regina,” she said.

This spring, Nature Regina launched its Wandering Wednesdays social media campaign to promote its free, family-friendly self-guided hikes.

Read more: Nature Saskatchewan invites community to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day online

Every Wednesday, the organization posts a new online guide with pictures of the area, a Google location pin and details about wildlife, plants and other fun facts.

“I think that’s very interesting because when people look at nature, they just think, ‘once you’ve seen part of it, you’ve seen it all – but it’s not. Everything is different in its own way,” said Chernick’s nine-year-old son, Graham.

Graham Chernick goes pond-dipping at McKell Wascana Conservation Park in Regina on July 29, 2020
Graham Chernick goes pond-dipping at McKell Wascana Conservation Park in Regina on July 29, 2020. Daniella Ponticelli / Global News

Chernick said all the guide information is provided by dozens of Nature Regina volunteers, including Gail Fennell, who is passionate about prairie plant life.

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“You look out and you don’t see any big showy flowers, like you would see in a garden, because the native plants are just interested in grow, make the flower and get the seeds — so their flowers tend to be quite small,” Fennell said.

She added that once people know what to look for, the varieties of plants are easy to spot in abundance.

Nature Regina has posted 10 free hiking guides on its website and Facebook page, with plans to continue once a week until the end of September.

The guides will remain on the organization’s website for future use.