EDMONTON -- The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) released its list of the top 10 nature hot spots in Edmonton.

The list highlights some of the most important areas in the city for rare species, habitats, and migrating birds.

The NCC says urban nature is important because it improves physical and mental health, helps cities with issues like air pollution, and provides habitats for many species.

Wednesday night they revealed the list during a NatureTalks speaker series at Fort Edmonton Park.

NCC Communication Manager Carys Richards says the cross-country speaker series is a way for Canadians to learn more about urban nature.

“The whole purpose of this event is to show people that there’s a lot of really great nature spaces within the city limits,” said Richards.

Some of the panelists at Wednesday night’s event included a scientist, poet, and movement creator.

“It’s a broad panel of speakers that are going to be talking about the connect between Canadians and nature from a bunch of different perspectives,” said Richards.

In the week leading up to the event, the NCC asked residents to give their suggestions about their favourite nature spots.

“Based on their suggestion we’ve completed a top 10 list of what we think are the most important conservation areas.”

Some of the areas on the list include the Whitemud Ravine, Big Island, and William Hawrelak Park.

The point is to encourage people to spend more time outdoors, and motivate them to explore these areas, says Richards.

In a survey conducted by the NCC more than 90 per cent of respondents said they were happier, healthier and more productive when they spent time outdoors. The survey also found that two thirds of people said they spend less time outdoors now than they did as childen.

“People are spending less time outdoors, despite knowing that it’s really great for their physical and mental health and we’re just trying to get people reengaged with the nature in their cities,” said Richards.

Some of the topics covered in the speaker series included urban restoration, habitat for species at risk, and ways people can connect with the outdoors.