Written by Denise Deby.

Winter wonderland - D. Smith

Last weekend was family winter biking; this week brings more ways to experience and appreciate the outdoors.

No matter what the weather, you can check out one of Ottawa’s wild spaces at the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-Ottawa Valley Chapter’s Nature Night on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. CPAWS-OV and Deanna Wright from the South March Highlands Coalition will talk about the Highlands and the Carp Hills area and what’s being done to protect them. It’s at MEC on Richmond Road at 7 p.m. Free (donations welcome).

You can catch CPAWS-OV’s monthly guided snowshoe hike on Saturday, Feb. 2 in Gatineau Park’s Meech Creek Valley, where you’ll learn about the area and the threats facing it. Meet at P15 parking lot at 6:15/6:30 p.m. Do check the website for recommendations on what to bring for the approximately 4 km, 2 hour hike.

Winterlude starts this weekend, with plenty of fun for everyone. Weather permitting, there’ll be ice carvings at ConfederationPark, snow slides and more at Jacques Cartier Park, an outdoor lantern garden, Arctic photographs, and performances and activities of all kinds. Check the website for details, and remember you can travel between sites on weekends for free on the Sno-bus. The festival runs Feb. 1-18.

Also, the Bytowne Cinema is showing Chasing Ice on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 1:45 and Sunday, Feb. 3 at 9 p.m. It’s a documentary about photographer James Balog, who was sent by National Geographic to the Arctic to depict climate change in photographs. Struck by what he saw, he decided to set up time-lapse cameras to show the changes over several years, a huge and challenging undertaking motivated by his desire to let people know what’s happening and encourage action. You can find out more about the film here, or watch the trailer below.

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