This Earth Day, we celebrate nature closer to home. And the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) gives us great ways to see where we are.
To this end, FWS has launched a group of articles and activities specifically for those trapped in self-isolation. There are recommendations for famous books on nature by American authors like Henry David Thoreau, activities and hobbies for adults and children, and citizen science practices for people who want to become intimate with their environment.
“We can find inspiration in the night sky, motivation in birds that migrate thousands of miles to nest in our yards, entertainment in a chorus of spring peepers, and tranquility in a cheerful yellow daffodil that signals the return of spring.” write the FWS.
Wherever you are, there may never be a better time than now to pick up a new hobby characteristic of tree lovers, stargazers, and bird watchers.
Sharpen your observation skills
In his classic work on the changing seasons and their character on his farm in Wisconsin, Aldo Leopold detailed in the Sand County Almanac how he observed everything; the chorus of birdsong every month; including which were the first birds to start, which were the last to join, and which were the last to stop; where the gophers would look when they emerged from their burrows; where the wind blew during each month; and when each bird arrived and departed on their migratory routes.
So maybe now is a good time to go to your favorite place, under a tree, on a bench, wherever there is green, take out a pen and start recording what you see, hear and smell. Can you smell the trees while they are blooming? What birds can you hear? Are there bugs running their own little errands?
There may be a lot more going on than you think, even in your backyard. The Biodiversity it is the most important asset in an ecosystem. It ensures an abundant supply of food throughout the food chain and resistance to diseases that can destroy ecosystems with weak biodiversity.
Get in touch with this critical aspect of the environment by trying to do a biodiversity survey of your garden or lawn. To do this, make a lifting diagram by hammering 4-5 sticks or pencils into the ground and establishing a perimeter of rope or rope around them. Consider all the different species of grasses and herbs. Grasses are easy to spot; the species name is how we refer to them. Herbaceous plants are broad-leaved plants like flowers. Also take into account all species of insects.
Try making several study plots and measure the biodiversity in your garden.
Take up bird watching
To younger readers, bird watching, or birdwatching for short, may seem like a dull pastime for congested retirees; But in reality, it can be a tremendously engaging and meditative hobby that connects you with creatures who, while they seem reserved and uninteresting, are much more than they appear.
Bird watching could even be considered the grown-up version of Pokémon – you have to go out into the world and explore different habitats while trying to catch them all.
Here’s how to get started. Get a pair of binoculars and a bird watching app on your phone, like the Audubon Birding official app. It’s free and has tons of resources to help you identify the feathered friends you find.
Start by learning to recognize the feather and bone structure of different birds. For example, wrenches have curved beaks, fat billed beaks look like cardinals, nuthatches walk along tree trunks, and wrenches search for food on the ground. This will help you narrow down your lists of potential birds. After that, you just have to select the month, region, and coloration, and you’ll usually only have a few species options left.
You can also get to know the birds in your area by setting up a bird feeder. Bridget mcdonald writing for Fish and Wildlife Service describes how to do this.
“Birds are vulnerable to stealthy predators like hawks and house cats, so before setting up a bird feeder, find out where the safest place is, ideally near a shelter such as a bush, tree, or a bunch of branches in the house. I usually. Make sure it’s also a place that you can see from the inside looking out a window. “
If that’s not enough to increase your interest in bird watching, this private study from the University of Exeter found that bird watching is great for mental health.
Enjoy great works of nature writing and cinema
If you don’t feel like turning on the television to watch the exciting new documentary about Jane Goodall, you can always choose his 1996 bestseller “My life with chimpanzees”About how she became the first woman in the world to study chimpanzees and how her research ended up transforming the scientific community.
Meanwhile, further back in history, no work of 19th century American literature is as widely distributed throughout the world as “WaldenThe story of how Henry David Thoreau rejected civilized life for that of the isolated naturalist in a log cabin he built in Walden Pond in Massachusetts.
For a more poetic literary getaway, Scottish-American writer John Muir is particularly famous for using his writings to turn the hearts and minds of 19th-century America to the natural treasures of his nation. His magnum opus, “My summer in the mountains”, An Autobiographical Journey Through California’s Sierra Nevada, is based on chapter after chapter of enthusiastic, nature-inspired poetry.
As mentioned above, Aldo Leopold, the first American conservationist and author of the aforementioned “A Sand County Almanac“It will connect an American with his sense of stewardship of the land, which Thomas Jefferson described as” the nation of nature. “
If you prefer to get up close and personal with the world’s wildlife, Netflix also just announced that they are streaming every episode of his beautiful documentary series Our Planet free on YouTube.
We have also developed a handy list of zoos and aquariums They have created live broadcasts of their resident animals.
Try and use nature to ease your worries
Researchers have documented for years how exercise or simply being outside in a lush green space can alleviate and reduce symptoms of depression or anxiety.
A 2019 study He said that just 20 minutes in nature was enough to lower levels of stress-related hormones, such as cortisol.
“Our study shows that to get the most reward, in terms of efficiently reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you need to spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that gives you a sense of nature.” says Dr. Mary Carol Hunter, associate professor at the University of Michigan and lead author of the research.
Other massive study than 20,000 people in the UK found that two and a half hours a week in nature was crucial for health and well-being.
So instead of thinking about the stress of being indoors, it may be more beneficial for you to focus your appreciation in the great outdoors. After all, the nation celebrated his first Earth Day in 1970 along with the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and congressional passage of the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Air Act, and while we may face a different set of dangers In 2021, we can still be motivated to action if we remember that we are all citizens of the same planet Earth.
Plant some positivity by sharing the good news with your friends on social media …