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Civic Impact

Take a green afternoon in support of the p.i.n.e. project

A past sit-a-thon participant, Earl, relaxes and unplugs at his sit spot.

In the city, it can be tough to truly disconnect: communing with nature isn’t easy to do from the window of a streetcar or from a condo balcony. The p.i.n.e. project has a solution: a “sit-a-thon,” their annual fundraiser. “We believe that a sit-a-thon contributes greatly to Toronto's understanding of the natural world by drawing attention to the fact that, while we live in a society where we are constantly on our mobile devices and rushing around, something deep awaits us in the quiet of the woods,” says Jay Haney, Communications and Program Coordinator for the p.i.n.e. project.

While the official sit-a-thon will take place September 26, participants can schedule their own sit-ins any time before October 5. They’re encouraged to find a spot in a natural setting—anything from a city park to a wilderness—turn off their technological devices, and simply observe the world around them. While it sounds straightforward, Haney hope the event will have a long-lasting impact. “Our participants have always completed their sit-spots with a greater sense of peace, relaxation and a deepened connection to nature.”

Other goals include a heightened sense of environmental stewardship, and a deeper connection to nature. Inspired in part by the Slow Food and Slow Living movements, the sit-a-thon fundraiser also reminds participants that humans, too, are a part of the natural world. Still, the pine project is happy if participants just take time to recharge: their website mentions recent studies citing the mental health benefits of time spent in nature.

Supporters can pledge to support sitters in their time-outs; although there’s no minimum time to sit, the p.i.n.e. project encourages people to “push through the point of being antsy” and past their comfort zone. The funds raised will help support the p.i.n.e. project’s child and youth programming throughout the year, especially on their Best Day Ever bursary for families. Haney explains, “It is our hope that the sit-a-thon will draw draw attention to the plethora of nature connection and wilderness and survival skill programs that we offer in the name of environmental stewardship.”
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