Nature can remedy some effects of staying home.
Think Outside the House!
Even though you and your family may be staying home, spring outdoors with us to stay engaged with your surroundings. This page will be updated as resources become available–check back often! If you have photos of ways you’re keeping entertained, be sure to tag us @fortheland #springoutdoors.
Start your adventure with Reddy’s Neighborhood Naturalist Challenge!
Exploration goes hand-in-hand with virtual education
- Become certified as an official “Hoosier Outdoor Child” using the Department of Natural Resources’ wildlife, history and outdoor activities
- Make crafts with natural materials like painting with rocks and leaves
- Deepen your senses by creating a sound map of the nature in your backyard or neighborhood.
- Go for a backyard or neighborhood scavenger hunt
- Make a specimen bracelet or fairy wand with natural materials you find in your neighborhood
- Use “Meet the Insects,” “Star Chart,” “Gro Garden” or other apps the inspire kids to play outside
- Take advantage of “Ranger Rick” magazine’s free subscription through June for reading guides, education activities, recipes and more
- Play interactive wildlife games, puzzles and quizzes with Audubon Adventures
- Use recycled materials to build a bird feeder with Audubon for Kids
- Practice sensory awareness and log daily findings with an easy guide to nature observation
- Discover signs of spring with Reddy Red-tail’s nature discovery journal
- Have your big questions about natural sciences answered at the Nature Conservancy’s Cool Green Science blog.
- Color along with Cope Environmental Center with a downloadable wildlife coloring sheet
- Turn nature into a classroom where Habitats Happen!
- Take a sock walk to collect seeds. Go one step further with a Project WILD field investigation on plant dispersal.
- Figure out which other animals are outdoors using a printable animal tracks field guide
- NASA’s GLOBE program K-12 All-inclusive, free curriculum kit brings earth and climate science to a global-scale.
- Use complete lesson plans designed for east-central Indiana ecosystems from BSU’s Environmental Education Center
More time at home increases personal energy use and trash production
- After working remotely, shut down your computer and unplug idle electronics
- Set up your home office or homeschool learning area in natural light
- Be sure your ceiling fans are turning clockwise in the colder weather
- Wear layers to keep your furnace or a/c from running all day
- Make sure you are recycling as much as possible! Click here for a PBS video to help with any recycle-or-not dilemmas.
Hunkering down can feel like you are cooped up
- Our nature preserve trails are open! Head to Dutro-Ernst Woods or Red-tail Nature Preserve if you like a wide trail. For full nature immersion in a waking woods, visit McVey Memorial Forest or White River Woods. Click here to begin your adventure.
- Visit Craddock Wetlands, Minnetrista’s grounds, and Dutro-Ernst Woods for nature walks in Muncie
- Discover 70+ places in Indiana to get outdoors while practicing social distancing
- Make your backyard a kid-friendly yoga studio
- Have close encounters with birds on the Indiana Birding Trail
- Claim your deed to a piece of an Indiana park, then visit your land near the Cope Environmental Center.
Sometimes you just need good news
Screen-time has skyrocketed
- Dig in to a nature themed reading list. Click here for a comprehensive list with topics from plants and animals to conservation and memoirs in multiple genres. We recommend, “The Nature Fix” by Florence Williams, “Wild” by Cheryl Stayed, “Bringing Nature Home” by Doug Tallamy and “H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald.
- Try any of these 44 nature book recommendations for kids
- Try your hand at journaling or art. Step out of studio and take a look around.
- Listen to National Park Road Trip radio or Red-tail’s curated Love of Nature playlist
- Immerse yourself in peaceful, nature-rich sound recordings by
Social distancing does not need to be isolating
- Join iNaturalist! Essentially, it is a social network of people who share biodiversity observations to help each other learn about nature. You can join national data collection projects, add to global data repositories, and share your findings with other amateur and professional naturalists. The app is easy to use, so you can record as you explore.
- Become a citizen scientist as a GLOBE Observer by submitting photos of atmospheric conditions in your area. You’ll be part of a world-wide effort in collecting data to complement NASA’s satellite observations.
But if you have to stay indoors…
- Watch some nature TV. PBS and streaming services like Netflix have a variety of inspiring nature documentaries including Planet Earth, Life, and Night on Earth. David Attenborough awaits!
- Get the inside scoop on wildlife with trail cameras. Critter cam has live feeds of falcons, bears, reefs and more.
- Go on a virtual field trip. Click here to see destinations like the Amazon, Galapagos islands, caves and canyons.
- Play kid-friendly online learning games, like Baby Animal Rescue
- Tour Hawai’i Volacanoes, Yellowstone, Carlsbad and other national parks with movies from the National Park
- Classify surface features on Mars, join a penguin watch or participate in hundreds of other citizen science projects on Zooniverse.
- Watch the Superheroes of Science YouTube channel with corresponding worksheets by Purdue University
- Learn about earth sciences from weathering to the water cycle with a touch of human history from National Geographic’s encyclopedic entries
- Discover the role of water in our lives with Project WET’s interactive videos
- Listen to rangers teach about wetlands, light pollution and more with activities and experiments each week with Wednesday Wonders