Sleeping bags, S’mores and the Great Outdoors: The impact of nature-based leisure on refugee integration in Canada

Jane Hurly

Summary: This study investigated the impacts of nature-based leisure on the integration of refugees in Canada. The study used semi-structured interviews and photovoice to explore four refugees’ experiences of a two-day winter camping experience in northern Alberta, and how it might foster integration. Data analysis used Brinkmann and Kvale’s (2015) modified phenomenological analysis, looking for references in the data to the broad categories of a) nature, b) nature-based leisure, and c) indicators or evidence of integration.

This research dovetails with two pillars of the 2015 Framework for Recreation Participation in Canada: by a) underscoring nature-based leisure’s role in enhancing individual well-being, and b) in connecting people with nature—particularly those who have experienced personal trauma—to reap the benefits of nature’s restorative and calmative effects (Kaplan, 1995) and to develop an enduring affinity and respect for the natural environment both as a place in which to conduct leisure, and to conserve and protect for the future.

Student Abstract presented at the 2016 Alberta Recreation and Parks Association Annual Conference and Energize Workshop

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