Operation Wild: The Great Equalizer
Operation Wild connects people living with disabilities to the natural world.
We are all curious about nature…
Since the start of the program in 2018, we have heard from partners and participants about how people with disabilities face significant social and physical barriers to accessing green spaces and environmental education opportunities. We also know, and have seen first-hand, that engaging with the earth in meaningful ways is essential for our own wellbeing.
In this way, nature can act as a great equalizer. One of our summer staff described this well when she shared, “everyone is curious about nature in the same way that I am, they are no different than me.”
Regardless of age, ability, race, or socio-economic status, we all share a sense of awe and wonder at our world — whether you are picking a wildflower bouquet or enjoying the brilliant fall colours; watching a bluebird build its nest or a bumble bee on a flower.
Here is what a few of our participants are saying about how Operation Wild is impacting their lives…
“It was the first time in years that I saw toads and frogs. When I was a boy, I always walked around in fields and saw lots of grasshoppers and toads.”
“I love the stillness. It’s so nice to get away from the sirens and the business of the city.”
“After I had my stroke they told me I would never get to do stuff like this, and now here I am. I love being here and doing this kind of stuff.”
Sometimes, creation inspires creativity! On an early October Bird walk, one participant shared with us two acrostic poems inspired by his time at Cedar Haven:
-Matt Koning, Operation Wild Program Coordinator