Friday, January 30, 2015

A Naturalist's Thoughts on Winter Nature Walks

In the northern hemisphere, the season of winter - with its freezing temperatures, muddy trails, and a dearth of wildlife - can be a difficult time to appreciate nature. Unlike the frenetic activity that occurs each spring, winter can seem downright boring by comparison. But if you take the time to experience nature in winter, you will find it a rewarding experience. Here are some tips for your next nature walk:  

Silence your phone. In this age of constant communication, it is hard to let go and experience the moment. Allow yourself some time to simply be in nature, without expecting anything from yourself or your surroundings.

Use your four senses. At first, you may notice human activities like helicopters buzzing overhead or cars idling in the parking lot. But the longer you listen, sounds of nature will capture your fancy: birdsong, leaves crackling under the weight of a squirrel, a light breeze through tree branches. Take a closer look at the downed trees, the dried grasses in the meadow, or the animal tracks in the mud or snow. Touch tree bark and the hulls of seed pods. Inhale deeply and smell the unique scents of nature. But please don't taste anything during a nature walk unless you are certain of what it is!

Savor your visit. Capture your moments of awareness by jotting them down in a nature journal, taking a photograph, or writing a poem or essay about your experiences.

This article was first posted at the Audubon Naturalist Society. Come visit Woodend!

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