Take a walk on the wild side at the Festival of the Wild Child in August

Did you know spending time in nature is good for your health? Studies show that spending time in natural settings can help you destress and feel better both mentally and physically. In Lanark County, you can relax and unwind in one of Eastern Ontario’s most beautiful untouched natural spaces during the Festival of the Wild Child, Aug. 24 and 25.

Created by the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) in 2017 in response to a growing nature deficit in both children and adults, the Festival of the Wild Child is two days of woodland fun to encourage participants to put on some rubber boots, grab a net and get into the pond, woods, and meadows. The event takes place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday Aug. 24 and Sunday Aug. 25 at the High Lonesome Nature Reserve, a 200-acre Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust nature reserve in Pakenham that features a network of trails through natural areas.

Now in its third year, the Festival of the Wild Child is growing rapidly; in 2018, more than 200 visitors headed for the wild to learn more about the flora and fauna of the area, and how to interact in a positive way.

Throughout the two-day event, various experts at nature stations on the nature reserve will be on hand to inform participants on specific topics. Sit and immerse yourself in the sounds of nature at the popular Soundscaping station, where the myriad of sounds created by insects, birds, and trees are amplified for an immersive experience, or learn more about the earth, its vegetation, and the animals that live there.

A Soil Station will examine the importance of soil and its history; a Tree Station will look at different kinds of trees and their importance in the ecosystem; a Rocks and Geology Station will talk about the geological history of the area and the rocks found in nature today. Due to the enthusiastic attendance at last year’s Pond Station this year’s event will feature two stations at two different ponds to offer insight into the intricacies of pond ecosystems.

There will also be a creativity component to the festival, and families will be able to take part in activities like drawing, painting, or clay sculpting, to help celebrate the beauty in nature and unleash your inner artist. New for this year, the Mystical Magic Oak Creativity Centre will take place around a massive old oak tree on the nature reserve, and will feature music, drumming, and scheduled activities.

Registration can be made in advance online at the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust website, or on the day of the event. Cost is $10 per adult, children 18 and under are free; fees gain admission for both days.

The Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) is a non-profit charitable organization that works in and on behalf of the people and communities in the region to preserve ecologically sensitive lands for the long term. The Festival of the Wild Child is one of MMLT’s many events that take place all year, and is organized and run thanks to the efforts of more than 40 volunteers.