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Mother Nature, presented by The North Face is a web series created with our friends at Beauvoir and is available right here.

News from Joanie, whom you met in the fourth episode of Mothers Nature.

Q: How many children do you have and how old are they?

A: I have two children, a very adventurous 8 year old and a very reckless 5 1/2 year old explorer.

Q: Your most memorable family adventure/vacation (positive or negative) and why?

A: Many great memories come to mind, but I would say the Nova Scotia duo surf and boogie board for the kids in between mountain biking.

Simple, wild, a stay entirely surrounded by nature where everyone finds his account! While a parent goes surfing only a few meters away from the family, the children spend hours playing in the waves in wetsuits. It was amazing because for the first time, everyone was independent, even at 4 years old. We were all close to each other, but we could enjoy our boards without putting pressure on each other.

Attempts of naps and board games in the tent in case of rain... ;)

Q: The moment you felt most proud of as a mother?

A: This fall, when I saw my children take the lead to go pick the specimens I was naming in the forest during an animation with a group of 25 people on "Nature's knowledge". It was a pleasure to see my 5 year old son tell the group that the salamander is fragile, that we have to be careful when we pick it up, because it breathes through its skin pores! My daughter who adds that "the trillium takes 7-9 years to make a flower and that you shouldn't pick it for nothing. She is my age!" At that moment I said to myself, "Good job mother, you have succeeded in awakening an ecological sensitivity in them." I like to say that to protect you have to love, and to love you have to know. Teaching my children the importance of taking care of themselves, others and nature is so important to me. I tell myself that if they are sensitive to a salamander and a flower, they leave with valuable values in life.

Q: The biggest challenge you've faced as a mother?

A: Guiding every year since the birth of my daughter (except for Covid...) groups of high school students in an introduction to Aboriginal culture where one of my children accompanies me. It is a great management to take care of your child in expedition, even more in charge of a group, and even more in a context of aboriginal experience. It is a project that I believe has the power to change the world. For my children, the Innu are their friends, their family and the protectors of the forest. They greet them by saying "Kuei" naturally. Now the community is waiting for me asking where my children are, it's touching.

Q: Your dream family adventure/vacation?

A: Just going longer and longer with a smile. I have several plans, but I prefer to focus on what is possible in the short term to live adventures of proximity in pleasure that will forge the personality of my children. Discretely, I hope that they will be the ones to invite me in their adventures...

Q: Your best superpower as a mother?

A: The art of turning small things into big moments!

A hike in search of wonders, a 30-minute outing in the middle of a snowstorm as an introduction to an expedition to the land of penguins.

Q: What's your snack of choice for you and your kids in adventure mode?

A: Banana-chocolate energy balls, garden vegetables that my kids are too proud to harvest and berries that can be eaten for a long time... it stretches a fun outing!

Otherwise, I have to admit that in our house, we intersperse snacks with candy. This is a popular reward that pushes my children to persevere in our activity to earn their little sweet bite...

Q: Your ideal day outside?

A: A simple moment where I allow myself to take time. Putting my worries on pause, taking the time to breathe, move together and contemplate the land that surrounds us. To be able to listen to ourselves and marvel at all that we can discover when we take the time to touch textures, lift rocks, observe from new angles all that presents itself to us or even replace a TV show with a sunset. Searching between branches or on the snow, listening, smelling and most importantly tasting! Being now, present for them, for me, allows us to better build the us by being more curious, more patient with each other and finally allows me to better know myself and my children in their deepest nature. My way of feeling alive.  

I would add that a perfect day is always composed of a wild gathering! A mushroom, a branch of larch, leaves, flowers, in short, a little taste of home that makes us appreciate even more the gourmet secrets of the forest! Note that on the picture we can see fly agaric, a toxic mushroom, but so beautiful. We learn to distinguish the risks through our discoveries.

Q: The 3 things you can't live without for an outdoor adventure with your kids?

A: Water, snacks and clothes adapted to the weather. The rest, we improvise with the wonders of nature that present themselves to us!

Q: What's your best advice for other birth mothers?

A: I would say that whatever a mother nature does is worthy and enough. As a parent in the age of social media, it's easy to continually compare ourselves which makes us feel like we're never enough, never do enough, never have an adventure big enough or far enough...

Let's face it, making our children our best companions in adventure takes time, sleep catching up, a lot of love and a good dose of willpower. We must therefore start by showing as much kindness to ourselves as we want to offer our children.

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