Connection to the Earth is in our very DNA. Over the past few centuries humans have done a stellar job of removing themselves from nature – via our dwellings, insulated clothing, food supply systems, and electronic devices. But there is something about spring that cuts through all that fluff. There is something about this time of year that makes our blood hotter, opens our lungs wider, and calls us to venture out into the wild.
I have always been very drawn to nature, mostly via the connection to plants. My undergraduate degree is in geography, my business revolves around educating people about essential oils and other plant medicine, I am a certified herbalist and in the process of obtaining a medicinal aromatherapy certification, and I work for a parks department while also being a Wild Keeper Ambassador. You could say I know a thing or two about nature lol
I wanted to offer you some of the best resources I have found to get closer to nature and learn more, in small and big ways. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but some ideas and activities to get you started.
- One of the most influential people in what is known as the “re-wilding” community is undoubtedly Daniel Vitalis. His ReWild Yourself Podcast and WIldFed show on Outdoor Channel bring you a wealth of information on how to un-civilize yourself in the best of ways. Find him HERE
- Books: Earthing, also known as a good old barefoot walk, is getting a revival – and for a good reason. Not that we needed to know the scientifically proven benefits of connecting our feet to the magnetic field of the earth, but if you fancy a bit of extra evidence – THIS BOOK will help. Another great publication that encourages us to get children outdoor is the Dirt Cure, this one stressing the health of the gut microbiome and strengthened immune system as a result of nature exposure. This list, of course, would be incomplete without the classic – Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv who came up with the concept of “nature deficit disorder” and started a whole movement – known as No Child Left Inside.
- If you love to get outdoors and explore natural areas, but at the same time want to make a difference the Keep Nature Wild WILD KEEPER program may be right up your alley. I have been a Wild Keeper for a few months now and it’s a wonderful experience. As an ambassador you are asked to participate in their monthly Impact Days and educate people on the importance of Leave No Trace Principles. For this, you get amazing discounts, giveaways, and a massive warm fuzzy feeling.
- A really great place to learn about the natural resources in your state, see where you can hike, camp, or rent some cabins is your state’s Department of Natural Resources. Google [your state name] +DNR and explore all the wonderful natural treasures of your state. Sometimes they are called Departments of Environmental Conservation, a few states use other terms, but generally that search will take you to the right place, especially in the Midwest.
- If you have a green thumb and poking in the dirt is your favorite pastime (or if you cannot grow a succulent and would like to get better) – a Master Gardener Program is great. Available in most states and in Canada, Master Gardener is an educational opportunity, a community, and a very useful skillset for anyone with homesteading ambitions (or those of us just trying to get outside more).
- Connect with your local parks department – it is very likely that they have some outdoor volunteer opportunities that will get you outside, closer to nature, and doing some good for your community. Those are especially likely to be happening around Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 30). If you live in or around Carmel, IN, email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about outdoor volunteer opportunities.
- If outdoor exercise is a way for you to connect with nature, look for outdoor yoga classes, running clubs, or hiking groups. HikerBabes is an awesome group for women who like to hike that I am a member of, and they have those in many states. We are launching a few outdoor yoga classes and you can check out those offering HERE.
- Nature journaling is an incredible way to slow down, get close to the Earth, become mindful, and feel your connection to all living things. An incredible (and free!!!) nature journaling curriculum is available from John Muir Laws. Alternatively, many local park departments will offer nature journaling classes or take-home kits that you can use to create a nature journal.
Whatever you decide on, I hope that you will get outside and connect to nature. We have entered the time on the wheel of the year when nature awakens, and it is time for us to awaken as well and connect to the Earth. Let’s make every day Earth Day.