According to the DSF, children currently spend at least 6 hours per day on a computer or in front of the TV and a mere 6 minutes per day engaging in activities outside. This is no good. I worry that kids will lose the skill of engaging in imaginative play outside, which I think is an essential part of childhood. In addition, they fail to develop strong attention skills, which time in Nature supports. Among both children and adults, stress levels and anxiety are on the rise, and fewer and fewer people are spending concentrated time outdoors. I spend the majority of my day in front of a computer. I try to get outside as much as I can, but I’m not sure I’m engaging in the way I could be. So, I felt it was time for another personal challenge.
The health benefits of spending engaged time in Nature are well-documented. The DSF notes, on its infographic here, that contact with Nature:
- reduces anxiety and depression
- decreases stress
- increases energy
- reduces symptoms of ADD (i.e. improves attention)
- reduces likelihood of certain diseases, including colon cancer, heart disease, and diabetes
So what qualifies as “time in nature?” When I signed up, I wondered the same thing. Luckily, the DSF anticipated me:
“Time in nature is about getting outside and taking time to notice and connect with the non-human life around you.”
The DSF also provided, via a beautiful instagram page, some ideas for engaging with Nature on each of the 30 days. Below are some of their tips:
- bike a new trail
- drink your morning coffee (or tea!) outside
- find a bug
- picnic in the park
- listen to the wind
- identify trees
- write outside
- take photos of things (outside)
From my perspective, the aim is to spend 30 minutes outside, either walking, hiking, biking, or photographing. Given that May is one of the most beautiful times of the year, when the world moves from brown to green to colourful, I plan to also take a series of photographs, one for each day in the challenge. I’ll tweet these photos out, and perhaps also post a series every few days on the blog, so we can watch the world transform together.
If you want more details, or are interested in participating, check it out at the 30×30 website here.
I’ve got my camera ready, my shoes by the door, and my list of good hiking trails and nature spots ready to go. Let’s enjoy the Spring.
© 2014 Backyard Owl