Do you think of yourself as a visitor in Nature, or a part of it?

In our fast-paced society, we seldom make time for Nature. When we do, it is a quick visit to a park or a short trek along a favorite trail. These brief intervals surrounded by the natural world refresh and relax us.

Then, we return to our “real” lives. Deadlines, commitments, paperwork, phone calls. What a strange way to view the world. People are, and always have been an integral part of Nature. The more removed from Nature we are, the more removed we are from our true selves.

Too often, environmentalists implicitly underwrite and perpetuate the false assumption that humans are trespassers or interlopers. Granted, we as a species have wrought horrific terrors upon the earth, and taken many concepts to extremes which threaten the health of the earth. The answer to that, however, is not a strict preservationist’s “hands off” attitude. The answer to that problem is moderation and a realization that what we do to the earth, we ultimately do to ourselves.

Living in balance, there are many uses we can make of our natural endowment that can enhance our lives and still leave the system healthy. This ultimately brings us closer to Nature, and to our own ultimate reality. Check out “Thumping Hickories,” a new essay from naturalist William Hudson, and then get outside, learn something, and refresh your soul.

 

7 Reasons to visit a park during Winter


Don’t be a fair weather outdoorsman. Instead of being a wintertime couch potato, get outside and enjoy these extraordinary benefits:

Feel good
Getting outdoors and exploring nature provides an opportunity to exercise. Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you feel better. What better cure for the wintertime blues?

Enjoy solitude
Witness the peaceful majesty of the winter landscape. By being one of the brave few that opt for a hike on snow covered trails, you will experience a unique solitude that is rarely possible at other times of the year.

Escape to another world
A snow covered landscape can impart an otherworldly feeling that may take you back to childhood or it might instill thoughts of places like Alaska or Antarctica. Icicle encrusted cliffs are particularly great places to visit during the winter for the feel of a real magic kingdom.

See more
During the dormant season, deciduous trees are bare and most ground cover has died back. This allows hikers to get longer views of the landscape, and sometimes reveals hidden gems, like glimpses of far off waterfalls, or cloistered little ravines that escape notice during greener times of the year. Go to a familiar landscape during winter and look upon it with new eyes. You just might like what you see.

Winter Tracking
What better way to learn or practice your tracking skills? Follow a deer through its daily routine. Creep along the path of a raccoon. It is much easier to track animals further with a nice blanket of snow.

Winter Tree Identification
Want a real challenge? Impress you friends by taking them on a winter hike and identify trees by their bark or twigs. It isn’t that hard when you know what to look for. And you can exercise your brain and body at the same time.

Sledding!
So much for the solitude listed above! Sometimes Nature appears to be chaotic. No where can that aspect of Nature be more apparent than on a busy sledding hill. With or without kids, there is no excuse to get out the old toboggan or sled and head to the nearest snow covered hill. That exhilarating rush that comes from gliding down a hill nearly out of control can’t be beat.

 

More evidence that Nature is good for you and not just an extra.

I found this article on the Beacon Journal’s web site and thought I’d share it: Ohio.com – Plants can boost health and spirits in '10: “reduced negative emotions, increased positive feelings, increased sociability and reduced need for health care.”

The article mainly discusses plants and gardens, but there is also a bit about proximity to green space. Take a look and then think about this. We complain about raising health care premiums while there is a way (exposure to nature) to reduce recovery times by large percentages. We worry about the supposed obesity epidemic when one part of a cure is nearly free (Get outside and hike!).

Some of the benefits of green space are felt simply by looking out the window. Think how much more valuable Nature is to people who actually go outdoors and immerse themselves in reality for an hour a day.

While the beginning of the new year is not any different than any other day, maybe we can all use it as an excuse to commit to getting outside in a natural setting every day.

Think about how much better off you would be. If you have kids, start this habit for them right now. Your lives will be enriched beyond measure.

Get outside and enjoy the snow!

 

Hoot and Harvest Festival

On Saturday, October 10, 2009, Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Medina Summit Chapter will hold its annual harvest festival to celebrate fall and the last year’s land conservation accomplishments.

There will be pumpkins on hand for children to paint and decorate, hayrides, a campfire(with s’mores), face-painting, live music, and an after-dark owl walk.

The Medina Raptor Center will also present a program featuring live owls, giving festival-goers a chance to learn about these fascinating creatures of the night.

A harvest dinner will include hot dogs, beer, hot chocolate, macaroni and cheese, white chicken chili and cornbread.

Bring your kids and friends and enjoy an evening of fellowship and dun while you hear about the Conservancy’s amazing accomplishments.

DATE
Saturday, October 10, 2009

TIME
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

LOCATION
Hill’n Dale Club
3605 Poe Road
Montville Township, Ohio.

MORE
Tickets are $12 for adults
$6 for children ages 4-12
and free for those 3 and under.

RSVP
by October 2, 2009 to Gina Pausch at gpausch@wrlc.cc or 440-729-9621.

 

Good Plants Gone Bad: Invasive Plants of Southeast Ohio

Want to learn about ways to combat nuisance plants, network with others interested in controlling invasives, and enjoy a great workshop? Try this Ohio Invasive Plants Council program. You could not ask of for a better value. The council always has well-informed experts presenting at these workshops.

Check it out:

When?
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Registration: 8:45 – 9:30 am
Workshop Program: 9:30 – noon
Lunch (provided) 12:00 – 12:45 pm
Workshop Program (cont.): 12:45 – 3:15 pm

Where?
710 Colegate Dr.
Community Room, Administration Building
Washington State Community College, Marietta, OH

What?
-Aren’t Invasive Plants Just Weeds by Another Name?
-Breakthrough! A Biological Control for Mile-a-Minute
-Should YOU Be Part of a Cooperative Weed Management Area?
-The Story of What Happened When One Yard Went Native
-2009: The Year the Vine-that-ate-the-South Met Push-back in Ohio
-Funding Your Invasive Battle

How?
Registration: $10.00/person, those registered by Sept. 4 receive a free lunch
Register at: oipc.info.

Who?
For more information please contact:
-Marilyn Ortt, marilynortt@suddenlink.net, 740-373-3372
-Cheryl Coon,ccoon@fs.fed.us, 740-753-0558

 

Birds fly into fall migration – cleveland.com

Well, it might only be the first of September, but Jim McCarty at the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Fall is here. Like a farmer that plants by the signs, Jim has documented the beginning of the fall bird migrations in the linked article. He includes some great photos, so check it out, then get outside.