Monday, May 31, 2010

Natural Connections

10 Suggestions for Rediscovering your Nature

A wonderfully entertaining and engaging world awaits those who step outside the enclosures of modern life: cars, houses, malls, offices, and groceries, to name just a few. Rather than focus on what we leave behind – air conditioning, 24-hour TV with 1,000 channels, and the ability to hop in a car that takes us anywhere and nowhere we want to go – focus instead on the discovery and reconnection to that which is forgotten. A world we are integrally a part of but which has been buried in far away recesses of our modern lives.

To get you thinking about how to do this, here is a list of 10 activities (see previous blog posts). Some are easy, some require a bit more effort but each one makes the cut because I have experienced them. Give it a go and then take a moment for reflection, pay attention to what you see and feel. You might find it surprising!

1. Go barefoot – when was the last time you did this? Remember as a kid wriggling your toes in mud or sun-baked beach sands? Can’t find a beach? Just try walking on a grassy expanse.

2. Take a hike or walk in the woods. No matter where you live, parks and trails await exploration. Check out your city’s web site for park locations or research state parks in your area.

3. Volunteer for a restoration work party. Help stamp out invasive plant species or build trails. You are guaranteed to meet great people, get some good exercise, and someone always brings after-work goodies.

4. Put up a bird or bat house. Another pair of twittering wrens occupy my birdhouse. Sometimes you don’t even need a birdhouse – a nesting robin has made a home in a hanging planter on my front porch!

5. Take a dog’s walk. Amble with your own or join a friend whose dog needs a stroll. Either way, you’ll get outside and have lots of company.

6. Get your hands dirty - start a garden. If your yard is small or shady, find a community plot. There’s nothing better than getting an armload of fresh produce or getting to know a fellow gardener “over the fence”.

7. Go for a bike ride. Or better yet, start commuting to work once a week on your bike. Google provides an extension to its map service to help you find a route.  Many cities claim a bike-friendly atmosphere with impromptu groups forming for regular rides.

8. Join a conservation organization or become a citizen scientist. Many local organizations keep tabs on your particular area but even national organizations such as the Nature Conservancy or the Audubon Society have local chapters. See what the Milwaukee-based RiverKeeper organization does to help monitor water quality in its area.

9. Visit a farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture enterprises provide fresh local produce for most of the year. Madison has several markets open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  Experience a closer connection to the food you eat and where it comes from.

10. Support local restaurants supporting local food. Enjoy a great meal in a non-chain eatery in your area like the one I reviewed in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Make a comment about your reflections or suggest other ways to reconnect to your nature.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These suggestions are like a breath of fresh air. Barefoot! Yes!


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