Move over ‘Elf on a Shelf’, there’s a new Christmas craze in town—although you might have trouble fitting it in your living room. This year it’s all about a Goose on a Moose.
The idea came from the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) when they gave ‘Elf on a Shelf’ an environmental twist last week, tweeting a photo of a Canada goose standing on the head of a moose. The photo had many observers wondering how the symbiotic relationship between the two animals developed.
“It wasn’t a real photo,” laughs Andrew Holland, the NCC’s media relations director. “It was just something that our staff created as a conversation piece. But a lot of people thought it was real.”
Besides spreading a little holiday levity, the photo was designed to remind people to get outside and enjoy nature even with the cold weather. “Nature has been there for us over the last nine months,” Holland says. “A lot of us have spent time in lockdown…but when we could, we went out to our trails and our parks and our green spaces and our forests and in and around wetlands and those areas. This was a way for us to clear our heads, improve our moods, and benefit our physical and mental well-being. Now, with winter, it doesn’t mean that has to stop.”
According to Holland, 73 per cent of Canadians have spent the same amount of time or more outdoors during the pandemic compared to previous years. “A lot of these people are younger, a lot of them are women, a lot of them are mothers who want to get away from screens and the news on TV,” he says. “It’s been a heavy year.”
To ensure these outdoor spaces can continue to be used by Canadians, the NCC is once again running its Gifts of Canadian Nature program, now in its 26th year. The program allows people to symbolically adopt an acre of habitat or a specific species. “Whether it’s a snowy owl or a moose, there are all different options,” Holland says.
The program also allows you to adopt the habitat or species as a gift in someone else’s name. The person receiving the gift will get a certificate indicating what’s been adopted, a calendar for the year, and a booklet with information on the species or habitat. The person who buys the gift will receive a charitable tax receipt.
The program has raised just over $3.2 million with the money going towards conservation and stewardship work at sites across the country.
“Nature’s been there for us,” Holland says. “We should be there for it.”