We're going to take your feedback in stride, Ontario. Ontario Parks has asked residents to stop placing painted rocks in parks as the paint could cause harm to the ecosystem, including wildlife.
The Weather Network is all about nature conservancy and we definitely support Ontario Parks' wishes, but we're not about hindering creativity, so let's walk through this request together.
Why are people painting rocks
As stated in the friendly Ontario Parks' blog, nature and art come hand-in-hand. The blog shares, "In many ways, painted rocks are an expansion on the long tradition of nature-inspired art," adding, "We love it when visitors share their artistic creations with us."
The rock painting trend picked up momentum during the COVID-19 lockdown. It's fun, it can be done in isolation, and it's a colourful way to spread joy.
The blog shares, that "these rocks are often left or hidden where others will come across them as a way of spreading kindness to strangers." So, they get it. It probably wasn't easy for them to ask the province to stop spreading rock kindness, especially during a pandemic.
Why is Ontario Parks asking us to stop
The reason why Ontario is asking us to stop leaving painted rocks in nature is because of the paint.
Though many people use eco-friendly paint, there is no way that park authorities can discern the difference between good nature paint and bad nature paint.
Paint that isn't eco-friendly is harmful to wildlife. The paint breaks down and enters into the ecosystem. Ontario Parks explains, "It’s important to leave flowers, animals, feathers, and, yes, even rocks, to continue their role in the ecosystem."
Where to spread rock joy
Though "pick your battle, Ontario" comes to mind when responding to the request, it does make sense, and there are still ways to enjoy the joyful hobby.
Ontario Parks suggests, "you may still bring rocks from home, and paint them with inspiration from the nature surrounding your campsite. But when you’re done, make sure to bring the painted rocks home with you..."
Some people have also placed rocks in a protected place near their homes, sharing happiness with people passing by. Also seems like painted rocks are fodder for Instagram.