With clear blue skies on a bright sunny day, Humber’s Spirituality and Wellness Centre teamed up with the Humber Arboretum for a tour of the college’s own backyard.
The event started with a land acknowledgement to remind students that the arboretum is located within the traditional and treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
Following the land acknowledgement, a short meditation session was held outside before students went on the tour.
Stephanie Boachie, the event coordinator for the Spirituality and Wellness Centre said it’s important for students to take time out of their day to enjoy and understand nature.
“I feel like nature is just something that we’re just inherently connected to, like we wake up when the sun comes up, things like that,” said Boachie.
“A lot of the time we’re on the go, we’re not really thinking about the trees, how they sound or what trees look like or what fly just passed by as we’re swatting them, but being in the moment to notice a different species and things like that actually helps get into a more mindful feel, and just allows you to really be grateful for everything around you,” she said.
The Humber Arboretum dates back to the 1970’s, when horticultural students noticed the undeveloped land beside the campus and saw it as an opportunity to practice their skills.
The Arboretum officially opened in September 1977 as a collaboration between Humber College, Toronto and Region Conservation, the City of Metropolitan Toronto and the City of Etobicoke
The space is about 250 acres of land and is home to the Humber River trail that runs through Toronto and Etobicoke and is best known for its bike paths.
One student that attended the event, Steven Typa, is familiar with the area and was looking forward to a chance to explore the area again.
“I have an interest in meditation and nature walks, I’ve been here before and I wanted to come back. I think it is therapeutic outside and it’s a good break from looking at a screen,” said Typa.
The tour of the arboretum gave students the chance to learn about the species of fish in the pond, see the turtles that live there, explore the trails and learn about the types of trees and hear some fun facts about different animals.
Emilia (Mia) Maceasik, who goes by they/them pronouns, said nature is a good way to help decompress during stressful times.
“Nature has shown to improve your ability to tolerate stress and to manage symptoms of anxiety as well. We understand that students feel a lot of stress, especially during the beginning of the year and the end of the year with exams and assignments seeming to pile up all at once. Nature provides a safe space for you to just enjoy being with yourself out in nature,” they said.