Earth Day Celebration: Five Ways to Connect with Nature

Celebrate Earth Day by Connecting with the Outdoors And More
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Earth Day Celebration: Five Ways to Connect with Nature

Earth Day Celebration: Five Ways to Connect with Nature

Whether you consider yourself an outdoorsy person who enjoys long hikes and spends their paychecks on camping gear or your idea of “getting outdoors” is catching some sun rays on the back deck, Earth Day is still for you to celebrate. 

If you love sunshine, fresh air, a dip in a lake, the shade of a huge maple tree, or a sunset view, then you share an appreciation for our natural world. Take time to celebrate its beauty, complexity, and gifts this week in honour of Earth Day. This year, it falls on April 22nd, so here are five ways that you can get outdoors and connect with nature. 

Take a walk through nature

Skip the treadmill or comfy couch one night this week and opt to spend an evening outdoors. Nature doesn’t simply mean the picturesque view of a mountainscape you see on Instagram. Wherever you are, in a city or part of a rural landscape, there are spaces to connect with the outdoors. 

Try looking up local walking trails or parks in your area. If nothing else, a sidewalk stroll definitely counts. Take note of the budding trees and any flowers that might already be in bloom this spring. 

Whether you’re walking through a neighborhood or a wooded park, make an effort to be mindful of your time outdoors. Leave your cell phone at home or have it tucked away with notifications turned off. You’ll be surprised by how many natural wonders you’ll come across when you’re actually looking. 

If you have little ones, consider turning your walk into a scavenger hunt. Ideas to include on your what-to-see list:

  • A bird’s nest
  • A turtle
  • An acorn 
  • A pine cone 
  • A body of water (lake, river, pond) 
  • How many different types of flowers
  • How many different types of birds

Brew tea from weeds

Yes, you read that correctly. Those pesky dandelions that sprout in your lawn throughout the summer? Turns out they make a tea that doesn’t cost you a thing, and their bitters are actually good for you! 

We just had an unseasonably warm week in Michigan (where I live) so everything looks extra green around me. However, depending on where you’re located, this might be something to try a little later in spring or throughout the summer. 

Dandelions, violets, ground ivy, clover: ALL can be used to make tea! It’s a matter of picking and drying the flower petals or leafy greens, then grounding them up and steeping them in some boiling water. Check out this guide for help identifying which weeds you can use and step-by-step directions on how to make an earthy steaming tea. 

Enjoy a sunrise or sunset 

Though I’ve often wished otherwise, I’m more of a night owl than an early bird. Even so, I love setting an alarm to enjoy watching the sun rise over the lake or river I live nearby. Kudos to you if you’re someone who doesn’t need the alarm or the cup of coffee I pick up on the way to my sunrise viewing destination.

Sunshine is incredibly helpful in syncing our internal body clocks with the outdoor world. Known as a circadian rhythm, this internal timing system that regulates our bodies tells us when it’s time to sleep or be awake. Starting your day with just 10 minutes of natural sunlight will help you feel more energized throughout the day and sleep better at night. 

However, if waking up early sounds like a special kind of torture to you, opt for a sunset view instead. You’ll reap the benefits of sunshine no matter what time of day you soak up the rays, one of which includes reduced stress. There’s something so peaceful about watching the sun rise or set and no better reminder of another day on this Earth revolving around the sun. 

Bathe in the forest 

Okay, not literally, you keep your clothes on for this activity. If you’re out of sight on your own private property, then by all means, forest bathe in any attire or lack thereof you choose. 

Forest bathing is a Japanese practice of relaxation. Meditation-like in nature, it involves spending some quiet, calm time outdoors breathing deeply and observing nature. You can try this in your own backyard, head to a wooded park, or sit along a nature trail.

Put your phone away and turn off any music. Sit or stand while you take in the natural sounds and sights around you. Listen to birds calling, crickets chirping, frogs singing, or a river running. Observe birds flitting from one branch to the next, a squirrel climbing, trees moving in the wind, or clouds moving across the sky. Let your daily worries and concerns melt away while you focus on what is physically in front of you, and keep yourself grounded with consistent deep breaths.

I like to think of Mary Oliver as the unofficial queen of forest bathing. If you need some inspiration, check out Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver. Her poems will convince you that any amount of time spent forest bathing is time well spent. 

Get creative with nature

If you’re looking for an afternoon of creative fun, allow nature to provide you with some of the project materials. In today’s world, it’s so easy to remove ourselves from the natural world, but you’ll be surprised to learn just how much is already at our fingertips in the great outdoors. In honour of Earth Day, get crafty with one of these nature-inspired crafts. 

Framed Flower Art: Bring the outdoors inside with pressed or pounded flowers that make for beautiful wall hangings.  

Homemade Wood Coasters: These botanical wood slices make for unique coasters to set out on your coffee table. Print, paint, or stamp any design that matches your style. 

Pebble Art: This is a favourite craft of mine I recommend not only because it’s fun to create but because I could spend hours on a beach hunting for rocks and sea glass. If you’re looking for some relaxation, this is the project for you! 

There is no shortage of creativity when it comes to nature. Check out Pinterest for hundreds of more nature craft ideas! 

Enjoy Earth Day this year with one of these five ways to connect with nature. If you have other suggestions for how to celebrate Earth Day or connect with the great outdoors, let us know here.

Taylor Stawecki is a 20-something Michigander with a love for the great outdoors and written word. She spends her weekdays working for a digital marketing company and as a freelance copywriter. In her free time, you can find her reading, writing poetry, running, watching a Grey’s Anatomy rerun, or spending time with her family and friends.  As an old soul, she enjoys collecting salt and pepper shakers and cuddling up in oversized sweaters.

Favorite Book: If I have to choose, The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball
Favorite Brunch Spot: Rochester Brunch House


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