Connecting with Nature at Home

As we settle into new routines and look for positive signs that life is slowly returning to normal, we are all spending much more time at home. In the first few weeks of social distancing, I discovered that my home was more crowded than usual!

Suddenly, I had two teenagers (now home-schooling) and a husband working remotely from a make-shift office in the master bedroom. With a feeling of general discontent, I reached out to the Master Naturalist community for inspiration and to see what nature therapy people were finding at home.

British Soldier lichen from the Upstate – photo taken by M. Davis
British Soldier lichen from the Upstate – photo taken by M. Davis

It was wonderful hearing from so many of you! Fellow Master Naturalists were making the most of their surroundings by gardening, working on their landscaping, hiking in the woods, boating & kayaking, enjoying their backyard nesters, and getting into some nature reading. Thank you to all who shared photos. They came in from the coast to the Upstate, and I plan to spend time in a few people’s backyards when this is all over! They just don’t know it yet.

Thank you for sharing your ideas with me. For everyone’s benefit, I’m passing them along (below). I wish everyone a safe, restful, and nature-inspired time at home.

Recommendations:

  • Local trails are still open and spring blooms abound in the Francis Marion NF (or find some in your area: https://www.traillink.com/stateactivity/sc-walking-trails/). As of 4/10/2020, trails in the Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests are still open for use, but always follow up-to-date guidance from local, state, and federal authorities regarding any outdoor activities.
  • Some of you are germinating seeds, tending pollinator plants, and visiting local native plant vendors to add to your landscaping
  • Kayaking/canoeing (for those with access)
  • Enhance your backyard wildlife habitat by adding water, food plants, and shelter features
  • Marsh/Nature Discovery Tour (test yourself) or go with family and make it a scavenger hunt
  • Get into Citizen Science: Project Feederwatcher (feederwatch.org), April Solo Sweep Challenge with SC Aquarium (https://www.anecdata.org/projects/view/122)
  • Hone your ID skills by trying out iNaturalist, PlantSnap, and Merlin Bird ID app
  • Book: “Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard” by Douglas Tallamy
  • And of course, lots of nature photography!