I love buying gifts for people with hobbies or special interests. The saying, “it is better to give than to receive” rings truest for me when I feel the gift I am giving will bring joy to the recipient and be meaningful. So if anyone on your holiday list is a nature lover or outdoor enthusiast, read on. If enjoying the outdoors is your favorite pastime, you may want to share these ideas (hint..hint family).
Outdoorsy people love gear. Fleece outerwear, wool socks, hats, gloves, backpacks, (in multiple sizes for biking, day and overnight trips) and headlamps are essential for anyone heading outdoors. Bottles to keep beverages cold or hot, first aid kits (with moleskin for blisters), a camp stove, and rain gear can be the difference between a disaster and a fun adventure.
By the look of my garage, fisherman can never have too much tackle. Don’t hesitate to give a gift card to let them pick out a new lure or reel. Binoculars, magnifying glasses or lopes, camera equipment, nature journals and field guides are appreciated by both beginning and experienced naturalists.
Gifts that help people to enjoy backyard wildlife will give joy throughout the year. Giving native plants, seeds, and trees will enhance habitats for birds, bees, and butterflies, as well as create beauty. Backyard birding provides hours of enjoyment. Feeders, bird houses, seed, and guides to identify all the birds who visit them will entertain people of all ages on your list.
Even though my bookshelves are crammed, I love to buy nature books. Nonfiction books written by my conservation heroes like John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Rachel Carson are my favorite and most loaned books. For parents, I suggest “How to Raise a Wild Child” by Scott D. Sampson and “The Nature Connection” by Clare Leslie.
Young children are very curious. There are tons of books to help them become more curious about nature. Look for books full of colorful pictures that engage children’s imagination and sense of wonder.
For school-age kids I recommend the Conservation Tales series by local author and Ball State Associate Professor, Tom McConnell. Currently available in the series are The Cerulean Warbler and Bats. The books show kids stories of wildlife conservation and how they can take action.
Creating a coupon for an outdoor adventure is a great way to gift an experience and share time together. Trips to paddle, fish, hike, climb, birdwatch, cycle, or camp can be the beginning of a lifelong passion. Equipment can be rented from Outdoor Pursuits at Ball State University to try out a new activity.
Supporting local organizations who work to provide outdoor recreation and conservation will assure that we will have places to enjoy nature in our community. Contributing to the Cardinal Greenway will help take care of the 62 miles of trail we enjoy throughout the seasons. A gift membership to Red-tail Land Conservancy will protect critical natural areas, maintain trails in nature preserves, and help more kids experience the outdoors.
During this season of giving, sharing a gift that gets someone outdoors or supports nature is giving back to the earth. It will mean the perfect gift in a season of joy and hope.