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New Brunswick’s ‘Women of the Wilderness’ group grows amid the pandemic

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WATCH: A new poll suggests that more women are turning to nature as a means of relieving stress amid the pandemic. A women's wilderness group in Riverview has seen a surge in members in the last year as more women take to the outdoors as a stress reliever. Shelley Steeves has the story. – Feb 23, 2021

A women’s wilderness group in Riverview, N.B., has seen a surge in members in the last year as more women take to the outdoors.

“There has been a lot definitely increased interest in getting out and exercising and getting in nature,” said Natalie MacGlashing, who is a member of Women of the Wilderness (WOW), a Facebook group for women who love to explore the outdoors.

Read more: (Jan. 28, 2021) Ipsos poll finds many pandemic-weary Canadians turning to nature for relief

WOW currently has more than 900 members on Facebook and MacGlashing said the group has been growing steadily amid the pandemic.

“There has definitely been a growth in the group,” she said.

A recent Ipsos poll conducted for the Nature Conservancy Canada shows that Canadians are turning to nature in significant numbers to help them cope with the impacts of the pandemic.

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Free Play for Kids program gifted outdoor rink at Edmonton community league – Feb 21, 2021

The poll found 94 per cent of Canadians acknowledge that nature is helping them relieve stress or anxiety.

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“I live alone and I am a single person and these women have been phenomenal in my life,” said Karen Cormier, who is a founding member of the group.

The group was founded in 2018 and Cormier said the outdoorsy women were tight-knit long before the pandemic.

But according to Ipsos, Canadian women and young families, in particular, are reporting a greater awareness of nature in their lives since the pandemic began.

Read more: Staying active — Outdoor activities for the kids to try this winter

MacGlashing says getting out into nature with friends has indeed been a stress reliever.

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“It’s made all the difference,” she said.

She said the group has had to alter some of their outings to accommodate smaller groups to keep everyone safe and adhere to COVID-19 relegations and they wear face masks on their outings.

“Because of COVID, we have to be more careful and even outside we do have to take precautions,” Cormier said.