All members including people living with cancer, family members and significant caregivers.
For beginner or avid bird watchers, Bird Strolls is an opportunity to learn about local birds and to meet others who share a common interest in birds. Members delight in all aspects of this program … learning about birds, doing the bird strolls homework and sharing their bird sightings. The schedule of meetings depends on the season.
“When I spend time watching the birds I feel this great calmness and relief. It’s a feeling of being totally centred – focused on something other than my cancer.” – Gary M
Benefits and Impact
Studies show that birdwatching has a calming effect and helps focus the attention. Being fully present in the moment brings mindfulness. The main benefit of Bird Strolls is the invitation to be out in nature which can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
What to Expect at a Session
At the first meeting, our Wellspring Program Leaders talk about bird watching, binoculars, identification guides and apps. At each meeting, they show photos of local birds and share recordings of bird songs and calls. Through Wellspring, they will share a wealth of resources and other helpful information.
They encourage participants to go for bird strolls in your local park or even just discover what’s in your own backyard. Your ‘stroll-work’ is to find and watch birds, with the option to take photos or notes to share at the next meeting. Wellspring Program Leaders will help you identify any mystery birds.
You will discover many different birds and where to find them in the Calgary area. Bird by bird, you will surely benefit from the mindfulness of this experience and especially, spending time in nature.
What the Research Says
Research shows that both nature-based activities and walking can play an important role in the health of people living with cancer. Engaging with nature has been reported to improve quality of life, fatigue, and anxiety in those with cancer (Nakau et al., 2013; Ray & Jakubec, 2014). Additionally, the American College of Sports Medicine exercise guidelines for cancer survivors cites strong evidence that aerobic exercise (including walking) improves numerous health-related outcomes in cancer survivors including fatigue, anxiety and physical function (Campbell et al., 2019).