A profile from the Faculty of Education WELLNESS INITIATIVE: Supporting a focus on health and well-being. This series reveals how our alumni, current students, faculty and staff incorporate wellness during this time of self-isolation and physical distancing.

Beneath the endless arch of sky, the Southern Alberta prairie displays evidence of farm and ranch—each with stories of relationship to the land. Dr. Danny Balderson (BA/BEd '01) roots from the rural way of life and is a generational farmer. He is the Physical Education specialist for the Faculty of Education and additionally serves as the assistant dean of Student Program Services.

Can you describe the activity that contributes to your personal sense of wellness? I really enjoy being outside. I like to spend my down time working on my small ranch. It is great to be out in nature and around the animals that I love. I live on the farm that my great grandfather homesteaded 110 years ago and it gives me a great sense of connection to the land and to my ancestors.

What benefit do you receive from this activity? Being outside helps me unwind, especially during this health crisis and working from home. I am very busy answering emails and writing reports and so to step away for a few hours every now and again is very therapeutic.

Can you give an example that reflects time on the ranch? I usually check my small herd of cows and horses every day. They are on a big pasture that runs along the Pothole Creek which sits at the bottom of a beautiful coulee. Each day I either ride a tractor, quad, horse, or walk down to check the animals. I have 8 mother cows that are calving in the Spring and so it is very fulfilling to see the life cycle begin with the new babies.

Longhorn with offspring along Pothole Creek on the Balderson Farm. Photo courtesy of Danny Balderson.

Before the state of physical distancing and self-isolation, did you have a different activity that you enjoyed? I would be doing this each day regardless of self-isolation. The difference is that the benefits of stepping away are maybe appreciated a little bit more. There is a lot of stress and uncertainty right now in many jobs and whatever we can do to remember the important things and stay grounded is vital to our well-being.


Related story links to the Faculty of Education Wellness Initiative series:
The Faculty of Education WELLNESS INITIATIVE: Supporting a Focus on Health and Well-Being
Wellness is Stillness: Jane O'Dea (dean emerita)
Wellness is Coping with Stress Through Art and Music: Jenn Pellerin
Wellness During the COVID-19 Experience, PSII, and Staying Connected: Kelsey Shoults
Wellness is Being in the Moment: Kenneth Oppel
Wellness is About Having a Consistent Routine: Alex Funk (BEd '17)
Wellness is Spiritual: David Slomp
Coping with COVID-19: Harnessing our Natural Stress Response
Coping with COVID-19: Loneliness


Writer: Darcy Tamayose | Photographer: Rob Olson
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