Nature can Nurture
Good Morning Watershed Explorers,
I know that you are hearing a lot about social distancing (making certain to increase the space between you and others that are not a part of your immediate family). This is very important at this time to ensure that we can get back to the activities we love as soon as it is safe. You may have also been hearing about many outdoor areas closing, including all of the Massachusetts Audubon trails and sanctuaries. Hearing this definitely made me sad, but I understand the thoughts behind these closings. Many more people are gathering outdoors, so there is a fear that trails will be crowded. As a result, people will not be practicing the social distancing measures that are necessary to help return everyone to their daily lives as quickly. There is also a worry that people may get hurt while walking or hiking and need to visit a doctor or emergency room.
I have many opinions on all of this, but I think the most important is that nature can nurture, and more than ever it is important to get outdoors. This does not mean being careless while we are exploring nature however. I discussed some safety measures in a previous blog that I think are super important to reiterate. If you visit a nature spot that is not in your own yard, make sure that there are very few, or maybe even no cars in the parking lot. If you do come across others on a trail, you can always move into the woods a little and let them pass in order to make sure you are keeping the six feet of distance that we have been asked to keep. At this point, make sure to choose walks that are reasonably safe with very little or no difficulty. This may mean that you have to choose walks that are very familiar to you so that you know the trail well and can walk it easily. I think that as long as these measures are practiced, you and your family can still get outside, while also being safe.
Nature can do so much for our bodies yet the research is clear, children do not spend enough time in it! The average North American child sits in front of a screen for 2,738 hours a year, but only gets outside for 183 hours each year (The Big Book of Nature Activities). If you have a chance, read this article https://www.nwf.org/en/Kids-and-Family/Connecting-Kids-and-Nature/Health-Benefits-and-Tips with your parents. It has a great list of all of the benefits that nature can provide.
This time is challenging for all of us, but I can't stress how important it is to get fresh air. We can all do this, while also being safe. I hope that some of you will get out to create a nature critter, below are some pictures of some nature critters that my family and I created on our walks this week. Don't forget that you can find nature right in your own yard. You can even do some of your learning outside. Do you need to read for 20 minutes? Bring your book out to the front step. Do you need to do 30 minutes of physical education? You can ride your bike in your driveway, hula hoop, or walk a loop around your house. There are so many possibilities for getting outside without even getting in a car!
I miss you all so much and I hope that you are all staying well and doing well with your virtual learning.