School’s out for summer.
At the same time, advertisements are extolling the virtues of various vacation destinations across Canada and beyond.
But before you are lured away from our verdant Langley shores, you should think about “staycationing” — at least for part of the summer.
During the recent financial crises, the staycation became a new buzzword. People found creative ways to enjoy their holidays at home to save money.
Staycations feature green benefits as well as financial benefits. Staying close to home reduces your carbon footprint by avoiding planes, trains and automobiles. No doubt there are other ways to count environmental savings, too.
But the big, big benefit of all this, in case you’ve taken it for granted (like I often do) is that we already live in a beautiful place.
Whether or not you are staying in the Langley area for your whole vacation, you should take the opportunity to discover something of your own backyard — your own backyard literally, the many parks and hiking trails nearby, or parks like Golden Ears Provincial Park, just over the river.
Tourism Langley has a top 10 list for visiting Langley, and it’s a pretty green list for the most part.
One top 10 item is “Langley fresh” pointing to the many opportunities to enjoy the fresh food produced in Langley, such as the Langley Community Farmers Market that goes every Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Kwantlen Polytechnic University parking lot.
There is also the Langley Circle Farm tour where you can take in one or all of 14 stops featuring berry farms, gardens, wineries and other local highlights. You can download a brochure at www.circlefarmtour.com.
For another top 10 item — “take a walk on the wild side” — you can either visit the Greater Vancouver Zoo for exotic animals or Mountain View Conservation and Breeding Centre to see local B.C. wildlife like the Vancouver Island marmot (you can call ahead or book tours online).
Throughout the summer there are many green events for kids and/or adults offered by groups like Metro Vancouver Parks, Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS), and the Langley Field Naturalists.
For example, Metro Vancouver Parks hosts a “fresh air hike” on the Fort-to-Fort Trail on July 7 and a “Nature at Night” experience at Aldergrove Lake on July 13.
LEPS has “eco explorers” kids camps starting in July that run from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on weekdays, and the LEPS Demonstration Garden features gardening workshops for adults too. The Langley Field Naturalists make an excursion to Golden Ears Park on July 22, featuring local naturalist Al Grass.
There is much more that Langley has to offer than I have mentioned. See www.tourism-langley.ca for more ideas for your staycation.
David Clements is a professor of biology and environmental Studies at Trinity Western University.