There is an abundance of evidence to show the health benefits of spending time in nature. Mindfully tuning into nature can help you reap benefits for your physical and mental health at any time, but is proving particularly important during the COVID-19 situation.
Getting out into the fresh air can also help combat feelings of isolation and build a sense of community. While we can’t hug or shake hands, we can still share a smile or a few words with passers-by while keeping our distance.
Here are some of our top ideas for connecting with nature every day.
Are you an urbanite blessed with a backyard? Got trees in it? If you do, according to this research, chances are you’re already helping reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect in your neighbourhood. To help your ‘hood out further, why not extend your planting prowess onto your verge?
If you’ve been hanging for a few spare hours to get that balcony garden going, now’s the time. There’s nothing like the flavour of herbs picked fresh from the garden. You could buy some seedlings or try multiplying your current plant stock by propagating more plants for free. Why not grow some extras to gift to friends in the future?
And did you know that the plants you choose for your backyard or balcony can contribute to local biodiversity? By choosing certain native vegetation you can help birds, bees and butterflies. Check our guide to planting for winged pollinators.
While we are all isolated at this time, we can still be connected by sharing our observations and working together to learn more about this beautiful planet we inhabit. Check out this long list of online and backyard citizen scientist projects you can be involved in!
Make it your mission to be curious about the life literally right outside your window. For example, you don’t even need to leave the house to be a birdwatcher.
Found an interesting critter and not sure what it could be? Why not send a pic in to the Atlas of Living Australia and get an ID, while contributing to their national database?
National parks may have closed, but urban nature is still open. Even with restrictions in place we can still go out for exercise, so this is a great time to become closer acquainted with those ‘in between’ spaces that normally go unnoticed or are taken for granted.
Be curious and explore what your local area has to offer. Make it your mission to notice something new. Turn your walk around the block into an adventure! Go camping in your backyard! You might be surprised with what you find to appreciate close to home, in your local streets, green spaces, alleyways, or even the tree at the end of your street.
There’s an article on how to be an explorer of the world if you’re looking for some inspiration.
Not everyone can get out and about, but don’t let that stop you getting your nature fix. We recommend checking out the botanic garden websites, like the Melbourne Royal Botanic Garden. They have lots of ideas for engaging virtually, and there are even some virtual tours available, like this walk through the Cumberland Plain Woodland at the Australian Botanic Garden in Mount Annan.
We’re also enjoying checking in with some animals around the world – starting right at home with the live animal cams at Zoos Victoria. You can also connect with nature all over the world by checking out Explore.org’s array of live cams.
We’d love for you to share your own stories about how you’re enjoying nature and being a local explorer at this time. Share your pics and video with us on social by tagging @greeningaustralia on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.