Thursday, August 15, 2013

Savor the Summer

The new school year is quickly approaching! It's time to get those last minute summer time leisure activities in! What have you been doing so far this summer? We wanted to offer a few ways to think "outside of the tent" for the remaining sunshiny weeks!

Hike your camping gear into a site, rather than car camping
Credit: Meghan Kearney/USFWS
Camping is quite possibly the greatest nature activity there is during the summer season. That being said, it’s also quite an obvious one. The possibilities to connect with nature via camping are endless: hiking, making a campfire, playing in a river, viewing wildlife and so much more. These endless options are what make camping such an appealing way to get outdoors, especially when the weather is nice. This summer, we challenge you to take camping to the next level. Think about your typical camping experience and plan a future trip that explores something new. Think outside the box. Do you typically car camp or “glamp”? Plan a trip that requires you to hike yourself and your gear to a site. Typically travel with flashlights and lanterns? Challenge yourself to camp with only the light of a fire. Try sleeping under the stars instead of inside of a tent. Do you have friends who would never dream of going camping? Find a way to get them outdoors and show them how much fun camping can be! The challenge is to turn your normal camping trip into a brand new adventure!

Find a Wildlife Refuge near you and spend
the day viewing wildlife.

Credit: Meghan Kearney/USFWS
Explore a Wildlife Refuge
Summertime is a great time to visit a National Wildlife Refuge. We always have exciting and free activities going on at refuges across the Pacific Region (and around the globe) during the summer. Kids are out of school and it’s the perfect opportunity for an outing with family & friends! Visit our National Wildlife Refuge System website to find your refuge, learn about a new one you haven’t before visited, and learn about the events and activities they have to offer. While you’re there, learn a bit about the refuge and its species. Chat with an onsite volunteer naturalist who can help you find spots to bird watch, tell you about any new or rare species that have been spotted, and provide you with materials to connect with nature during your visit! Make sure to take lots of photos, make some memories and share them with us!

Ever "Frolfed"? Half frisbee, half golf? Sports like these take you deep
into nature!

Credit: Grolser/Flickr Creative Commons
Playing outdoor sports is not only a great way to enjoy summer, but an even better way to connect with nature! There are, of course, the usual outdoor sports like football, baseball, soccer, golf, etc. but don’t forget about the ones that really take you deep into nature! Like to run? Try trail running instead of track, street or treadmill. Instead of street biking, take a bike out to your nearest park or mountain if you’re feeling extra adventurous. Don’t forget about sports like archery, or even frolfing! Finally, take your children out, or resurface your inner child, and spend a day in the woods playing those awesome childhood summer camp games. We’re talking capture the flag, water balloon fights, freeze tag, or even hide and seek. You are never too old to be a kid in nature!

Learn about a species like the Taylor's checkerspot butterfly.
Credit: Ted Thomas/USFWS
Learn about a species
With all of the summer free-time, and great weather to spend that time in, why not learn about a species in your area? Make a full and fun project out of it. Pick a species that you care about, maybe one that is endangered, or even one you simply think is adorable! Spend some time learning about the species. Grab a book from your local library or search the internet (and don’t forget to take your reading materials outside). Once you find you are a new expert on the species head out to its local habitat and see what else you can learn! Record any sitings of your species or any traces it may have left. Take notes and photos and share them with friends and family. Before you know it you just might be that species’ newest conservation activist!

Cook and eat dinner around an outdoor fire, rather than a dining room.
Credit: Meghan Kearney/USFWS
Take your indoor activities outside
Finally, if you still find you aren’t getting out and enjoying the summertime, pause for a second next time you’re doing something indoors. Ask yourself “is this something I could do outside?” The answer is almost always yes. Reading a book? Working on schoolwork? Grab your book or homework and head to your nearest park with a blanket. Soak in the nature while enjoying your indoor activity in the sun. Want to watch a movie? Check local listings to see if any groups or parks are hosting any outdoor movies. Head to a park for dinner and grill up some treats instead of using your stove at home. The possibilities are endless if you put your nature-brain to work!

If you can think of anymore summer time activities that you enjoy doing – let us know. We are always looking for new, fun ways to connect with nature!

No comments:

Post a Comment