As we deal with the social distancing, uncertainty, and other aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am reminded of the need to somehow stay connected with nature. As some of you know, there is a growing body of evidence that spending time regularly out in nature is important for our mental health and overall well-being.
We are fortunate to live in a state that has an abundance of public natural areas where we can explore nature. We are home to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, a few National Grasslands, 20 some State Parks and Recreation Areas, and several National Wildlife Refuges (more than any other state). There are probably several natural areas to explore nature near your home. And that doesn’t include city and county parks. And of course for many among us, nature is literally in your own backyard.
And that need for connecting nature applies to kids as well. I happened upon the website of the Golden Gate Audubon Society. They have a page of “Nature activities for kids during COVID-19” that even includes downloadable lesson plans for parents and teachers. No doubt there are other tips and suggestions on the web.
Of course, we need to be vigilant and heed the regulations pertaining to the pandemic. And they are likely to become even more restrictive. But do yourself a favor and take the time to relax and observe a little of nature as we navigate these unsettled times. Even if we have to stay at home, there are birds, plants, insects, and other aspect of nature to observe. Start a bird list, feed the birds, check out the plants more closely, or look for interesting insects or other less conspicuous organisms. There are lots of things we can do. Get imaginative. Who knows, it might even pique some interest in nature such as birding, wildflowers, photography or the like.
I have included some links and information on refuges, parks, and other information for places to enjoy nature below.
- North Dakota Tourism
- For more information on our National Wildlife Refuges (and a map can be found here.)
- For more information on the National Grasslands
- North Dakota Department of Parks & Recreation
- Golden Gate Audubon Society nature activities for elementary kids
- The 10 Most Incredible Natural Attractions in North Dakota That Everyone Should Visit
- The Top 7 Most Incredible Natural Wonders in North Dakota