Connecting to Nature


Connecting to Nature

From a walk in the woods to watching the birdfeeder through your window, connecting to nature is easy and can be done anywhere. Featured in Richard Louv’s books Vitamin N and Last Child in the Woods, having a connection to nature is vital to human life. Nature has a wealth of benefits; physically, mentally and psychologically. Fostering a relationship to nature remains possible in time of physical distancing!

Here are some ideas for how you and others can connect to nature while maintaining standards of physical distancing:

Photo Credit: Kyle Singbeil

Opportunity A: Solo Clean-up

Pick a date, time and location for your clean up. You can do a clean up anywhere in the community including trails and parks. It does not necessarily have to be near water or near a shoreline. Can't get outside? Try cleaning up areas inside of your University or workplace. Be creative.

  1. Register your clean up as a private event.
  2. Bring protective gloves, a garbage bag or bucket and box that is safe to store biological waste with you.
  3. Clean up! After your clean-up, sort your garbage to separate recyclables and track what you found using a Shoreline Cleanup Data Card. Submit your completed Shoreline Cleanup Data Card to [email protected]
  4. Share your experience! Tag your service on our Ocean Service Activities map. Take photos and share them on our community space gallery, write a blog or post what you found to the discussion board. Be active on social media using our hashtags #OceanBridge #LeadersToday and tag @OceanWise @leaderstoday and @SocDevSoc on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!
  5. Have fun! You are directly impacting your surrounding community.

    You can also try to coordinate by doing solo cleanups together with your friends and family. Decide a date and time and connect online together before the cleanup. You can then submit tracking individually afterwards.

    For more information, see the solo cleanup webinar here.  pw: June_cleanup01

    The 30 minute session covers:

    • How to register your solo clean up
    • How to fill out the cleanup data sheet and how to submit and upload the data
    • How CoVid affects cleanups
    • What the data is for and the bigger picture of your impact

    Opportunity B: Use iNaturalist and contribute to citizen science

      iNaturalist is an app that allows you to upload a photo of wildlife for purposes of citizen science. With your photo, other users of iNaturalist as well as an algorithm will help you determine the species. Once the species is determined, you’re already contributing to citizen science! Many studies use iNaturalist data in their research. 

      Interested in starting your citizen science journey? Here's how:

      1.  Download the iNaturalist app
      2.  Enter your local forest/trail/ravine/watershed on your own
      3. Take photos of species in your community – your phone should autosave your GPS location
      4. Upload the species photos when you get home and identify them to the best of your ability
      5. In a few days, an iNaturalist member will confirm your identification
      6. Not only have you spent time in nature, you’ve also contributed to citizen science!
      7. If you want to take it to the next level, you can tell another person about iNaturalist and have them upload their first image.

      Opportunity C: Tell a story about a time in nature

      1. Upload a photo, video or written blog in the Ocean Bridge Gallery.
      2. Talk about a time you spent in nature – it could be a trail walk, a bike ride, a time near the water and your memories in that moment.
      3. You can also give a “virtual tour” of your local watershed through uploading a video as well.
      4. If you’re looking for inspiration, try the virtual national parks or live cams website.
      5. If you’d like to take it to the next level, ask others in your community about their nature connection story and create a video together.

      Opportunity D: Develop an identification guide

      1. Try developing a simple identification guide for plants, mammals, insects, herpetofauna, fishes birds or in your local area. The list is given roughly by increasing difficulty (plants easiest, birds hardest).
      2. Start the identification tree by defining some main feature differences between the species (i.e. alternating vs. opposite branching on plants).
      3. Slowly add more specific features to build your key.
      4. When you’ve completed the ID guide upload it onto the Ocean Bridge gallery.
      5. You can be creative and draw your own guide or use photos online. You can even make an explanation video if you wish.  
      6. Try using your identification guide on a species in your local community (maybe try a plant since it can’t run away) how well does it work? How does it compare to other ID guides?   

      Opportunity E: Plant a native biodiversity garden

      1. Start a home garden that provides food and shelter for butterflies and bees.
      2. Learn about pollinator friendly species and how to create gardens that promote biodiversity here. 

      We'd love to hear YOUR ideas for reconnecting (or staying connected) to our natural world. Feel free to share them here

        Continue to Supporting Community »