Upon the sun’s return to Sweden, many people have begun to flock outside. Any open green area is covered with people trying to soak up all of the sun they can while it lasts.
But not only do people just sit outside and enjoy the sun, they also go biking, hiking and climbing to take advantage of the good weather.
In the spring and summer months I believe that a lot of Swedes spend their free-time more outdoors than anywhere else. This could be because they are simply afraid of how long the good weather will last or they just enjoy being in nature.
Coming to Sweden, one thing I really noticed was the relationships most Swedes have with nature. Growing up as a kid we always played outside in the trees or the parks, but the difference is Swedes know so much more about their environmental surroundings.
Our first class outing of the year was to the forest. We were supposed to just enjoy the environment and try to understand more about the ecosystem. It became clear after 10 minutes in the forest that the few Swedes in the class were nothing short of experts. Most of them could differentiate between the numerous varieties of mushrooms, distinguish between the edible and non-edible plants, and show which berries were which. They also further explained which plants were most prominent because of the season, which ones had just finished flowering and which ones were about to.
I was nothing short of astonished with their wealth of environmental knowledge. Swedes often ask me if we have a certain species of trees in Canada and beyond the obvious maple and birch I usually cannot answer.
The focus on early environmental education for children both at school and at home really has a positive effect on the relationship between Swedes and nature.
So as the sun begins to appear more often and the snow is finally gone, most of the Swedes flock to any green spaces, forests and lakes to take advantage and learn about the environment surrounding them. And this spring I will be close to follow, hoping to learn more as I go!