Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tucson Audubon Invites You to Engage with Nature!

By Sarah Whelan and Sara Pike

In a world full of screens and electronic devices, it is more important now than ever before to go outside and engage with nature. When we press pause on a game, close the laptop, or turn off the TV and go outside, something magical happens. Even something as simple as 30 minutes a day engaged with nature helps reduce stress. Nature offers a great way to spend time with those you love or to provide some much-needed time by yourself. When we go outside and take part in the natural world around us, we support our emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual development and well-being.

Children can benefit greatly from time outdoors. The National Wildlife Federation highlights the benefits to getting kids outdoors on their website, summarizing that children’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces, exposure to natural settings may be widely effective in reducing ADHD symptoms, and being in nature can enhance social interactions and value for the community.

Even WebMD has an article titled, “Do You Need a Nature Prescription?” This article references, “…a 2010 Japanese study of shinrin-yoku (defined as “taking in the forest atmosphere, or forest bathing”), for example, researchers found that elements of the environment, such as the odor of wood, the sound of running stream water, and the scenery of the forest can provide relaxation reduce stress; those taking part in the study experienced lower levels of cortisol, a lower pulse rate, and lower blood pressure.”

There is no doubt what being outside can do for you and your family. For those who are new to the outdoors in general, the question is “Where to start?”

An easy place to start would be a walk in your neighborhood. Look at the trees and plants, listen for birds or other sounds of nature, feel the breeze or the heat from the sun. If you are an urban dweller, find your closest park and spend 10 minutes looking, listening and feeling. For longer excursions, driving up Mt. Lemmon or visiting a local state park for a picnic and a walk can make for a nice morning.

Tucson Audubon offers a variety of programs that can then expand your horizon and get you outdoors. Check out the ½ mile, easy to walk desert trail lined with stunning saguaros and ironwood trees at Tucson Audubon’s Mason Center, attend a 7 Saturdays program held in Patagonia at Tucson Audubon’s Paton Center for Hummingbirds, attend a birding field trip (beginners to advanced birders all welcome!), or watch for an upcoming class on gardening for birds or sharpening your birding identification skills. You can find all of this information on the Tucson Audubon website, www.tucsonaudubon.org.

If you are a reader and prefer to learn about an activity before partaking, or if you enjoy having a book as your guide as you go along, the Tucson Audubon Society Nature Shops have what you need to get started and what you need to dig deeper into your experience with the great outdoors. Whether you are starting your first nature journal, tracking your latest bird sighting, planning your spring pollinator’s garden, or wanting to spend more time with your kids outdoors, we have the supplies you need to keep you motivated and answer your questions on how to engage with nature. You can find these great books, plus an opportunity to engage with nature at these locations:

Tucson Audubon Society’s Nature Shop – 300 E University Blvd. #120, 520-629-0510, Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm. This location provides the perfect opportunity to see an urban yard built for wildlife in action. Sit on the bench out front; enjoy the fountain and watching the birds at the plants and feeders.

Tucson Audubon Society’s Nature Shop at Pima County’s Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Park – 12325 E. Roger Rd., 520-760-7881, Thursday – Saturday, 10:30am – 1pm. This location offers ponds, park, picnic tables and walking paths throughout the park, and is a local birding hotspot, too!

Get out there, engage and enjoy!


WebMD Article http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/nature-therapy-ecotherapy?page=4

National Wildlife Federation Article http://www.nwf.org/What-We-Do/Kids-and-Nature/Why-Get-Kids-Outside/Health-Benefits.aspx


  1. Your proposition is alluring, I can't say "no"! Thanks you so much and hope you'll read http://bigessaywriter.com/blog/how-nature-can-help-you-to-beat-your-depression. It's a clearly written and well-researched article!

  2. Nature is calling us, we just need to hear it, I agree with Sarah Whelan and Sara Pike. Leave all things alone and walk outside, where you can be alone - this feeling so wonderfull.
    Thanks from UK Top Writers


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