Curious Nature: Here’s how you can appreciate nature on Earth Day
Get out and see things you’ve never noticed before
Walking Mountains Science Center
This Wednesday, April 22, will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day is a day meant to celebrate the Earth’s environment and bring to attention issues affecting us all.
Earth Day was founded by former Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson after he witnessed a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Earth Day gained support from all different people, rich and poor, Democrats and Republicans, and from city dwellers and urban farmers.
On the first Earth Day, nearly 10% of Americans participated to bring attention to the deterioration of the ecosystem. By the end of that year, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act were passed, partially fueled by participants of the first Earth Day.
In 1990, Earth Day went global and has since been celebrated in over 190 countries. Join the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day here in Eagle County.
Earth Day is seen by many as a day of service. Millions of people will go outside and plant a tree or pick up litter in their neighborhood. But Earth Day can also be spent simply appreciating what the environment provides for you and all life on earth.
Living here in the Eagle River Valley, we are lucky enough to have the natural world right in our backyard. But many don’t realize that being outside in nature has a positive impact on your mind and body. Enjoying just a few minutes outside has been scientifically proven to decrease depression, improve well-being and mental health, and lower perceived stress.
Often when we are out hiking, people are briskly walking past, hardly taking the time to slow down. They are only focused on the destination. I challenge you to slow down and observe what is around you.
Maybe just walk to the end of your driveway or neighborhood. See things you’ve never noticed before — a new flower bloom among the bushes or a bug crawling along the sidewalk. Stop for a minute and feel the sun on your skin and the breeze blowing through your hair. Taking moments like this allows us to appreciate nature and can help you feel closer to the world we live in.
Earth Day is a perfect day to try a new activity or pick an old one back up. Try going for a bike ride or hike a new trail. Plan a couple of activities to do with friends or families.
Here are a couple of activities to get you started.
Make art from nature: Find pieces of nature, such as stick, leaves or rocks and create your own masterpiece!
Do a scavenger hunt: See if you can find all the colors of the rainbow in nature or find as many different leaf shapes as you can.
And one last activity is to use all your senses (except for taste). Pick a spot on your adventure to explore your senses. However, you celebrate Earth Day, make sure to thank the Earth for providing you a wonderful environment to thrive in.
Karen Woodworth is a naturalist at Walking Mountains Science Center. She will be enjoying Earth Day exploring her backyard and seeing things she has overlooked before.