Nature Has Always Been There For Me
Aug 13, 2015
Nature has always been there for me. Whenever I need an escape from the mundane trappings of day-to-day life, I can discover a hidden world awaiting me by simply stepping outside. I used to confuse people who claim a love of outdoors as kindred spirits only to find that many of them see nature as a venue, oblivious and unobserving while in its midst. One of the greatest gifts my parents and grandparents gave me is a deep appreciation for nature.
Nature heals in more ways than providing us with medicines. It can bring peace of mind. Researchers at Stanford University are studying the psychological effects of nature. In one study they found that participants who walked 90 minutes through a foliage-rich park had less activity in a part of the brain known to affect emotions than participants who walked on a city street for the same time. Those that walked in the city had higher blood flow (activity) and they self-reported unchanged “broodiness” after the walk.
There are many ways to more deeply appreciate nature the next time you’re outdoors. The library has some excellent resources for all ages. You can bring more of the outdoors to your backyard by creating a backyard habitat for birds, insects, and bats. Natural Birdhouses by Amen Fisher has 25 inexpensive and easy projects to attract wildlife to your yard.
As an adult, the sky is the limits in exploring nature. Whether you’re interested in photography, arts and crafts, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, writing or journaling, there are hundreds of resources at the library to help you connect with nature. Simply ask for help at the Reference Desk or try some catalog searches. Some books that have caught my eye are:
- Painting Nature in Watercolor with Cathy Johnson: 37 Step-by-Step Demonstrations Using Watercolor Pencil and Paint by Johnson, Cathy (Cathy A.)
- This Book Was A Tree : Ideas, Adventures, and Inspiration for Rediscovering the Natural World by Cuff, Marcie Chambers
- Middlewood Journal : Drawing Inspiration From Nature by Helen Scott Correll
- The Complete Tracker : Tracks, Signs, and Habits of North American Wildlife by Len McDougall
- Viewing and Imaging the Solar System : A Complete Guide for Amateur Astronomers by Jane Clark
- The Better Photo Guide to Digital Nature Photography by Jim Miotke
If you have little ones, The Countryside Book: 101 Ways to Relax, Play, Watch Wildlife and Have Adventures in the Countryside by Tessa Wardley is an excellent resource. The format of the book is centered on principles of relaxing, playing, being curious, being adventurous, and asking questions. If you want something for a rainy day, try Eco-friendly Crafting with Kids by Lilley Kate. It has 35 activities using easy-to-find materials that are ideal for a day inside but with a focus on nature.
There are thousands of items at the library to help you connect with nature on different levels, from observing to exploring the nature around you. It is a different way to be kind to yourself. Enjoy and embrace it alone or in the company of those you love.
Reynolds, G. (2015). How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain. Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/22/how-natur...