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Observe the marvels of nature

Field Institute of Taos partners with Twirl for activities outdoors

by Cass Landrum and Susie Fiore
Posted 4/9/20

When was the  last time you really listened to the sounds of nature? The wind in the trees, the birds chirping, the sound of water flowing? Or welcomed a pollinating bee? Or noticed the change of the arc of the sun across the sky?

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Tempo

Observe the marvels of nature

Field Institute of Taos partners with Twirl for activities outdoors

Posted

When was the  last time you really listened to the sounds of nature? The wind in the trees, the birds chirping, the sound of water flowing? Or welcomed a pollinating bee? Or noticed the change of the arc of the sun across the sky?

Getting outside is healthy and keeps us connected with the natural world and things inspiring, magical and beautiful. Even though we are not playing together in person, it helps to know we are all in this together.

Here at Field Institute of Taos, we truly miss our community and are disappointed that some of our programs, including many special field trips planned with local schools, are canceled. We see an opportunity to slow and grow – in ways that wouldn’t have been possible with our regular, busy schedules.

We invite you and your immediate family — or “quaranteam” — to join us virtually in connecting with nature during this time. We have many opportunities to be outside here in Taos with incredible access to public lands that are uncrowded, vast and have exceptional beauty and biodiversity.

Being outside benefits our physical health, emotional well-being and brain function. With current limitations on travel and social interactions, now is a perfect time to enjoy the beauty and solitude just outside your home. Activities can include a lot of movement or they can be more focused on observation. Nature accepts our high energy as well as our more contemplative moments and each of us, adults and children alike, has the need to experience both.

I Play Outside with FITaos – activities at home

Celebrate the sun! Start today and celebrate the sunset. Share some iced tea or s’mores and reflect on your day. Make note of where the sun sets.

In the morning, watch the sunrise. This is a great time to take deep breaths, stretch and set some intentions for the day. Make note of where the sun rises. Even if you don’t watch the sunrise or set every day, if you can chart it once a week, you will see a noticeable difference.

Find a secret spot just outside your house and make a point of spending a little time there each day. 

Make a nature journal and write or draw in it daily.

At your secret spot, try the following activities:

1. Make a sound map by drawing an X in the middle of a page to represent where you are sitting. Use drawings or words to show the locations of the sounds around you. 

2. From where you’re sitting, try to identify which way is north. Draw a picture or write a poem of what you observe in each direction. 

3. Write or draw what you can touch, smell, hear and see from your secret spot. 

4. Make a list of the plants and animals you see. If you don’t know their names, make up your own or look them up.

Another way to appreciate nature is to observe Earth Day. Earth Day (April 22) is an annual event that involves celebrating our Earth and all the resources it gives us, like fresh water and air, plants and animals, and our community. Let’s celebrate Earth Day during the entire month of April. Go to earthday.org for ideas of things you can do to honor the earth. 

Here are some of our favorite ways to celebrate, learn and play outside: 

• Go on a hike close to home (bonus points if you pick up any trash you see).

• Build a fort in your backyard.

• Be a citizen scientist by using iNaturalist – collect real data by taking photos of plants and animals (inaturalist.com).

• Make a simple, fun, outdoor obstacle course.

• Create nature art.

• Look for signs of spring (see “Spring-O” on fitaos.org).

• Make weather observations (watch clouds, wind, temperatures, make your own predictions).

• Build a fairy house.

• Try geocaching (geocaching.com).

• Watch for changes over time. Changes can happen very fast in nature but sometimes the changes are very slow. Changes may be obvious and easy to see but sometimes you have to use your best observation skills to notice changes.

Take our “I Play Outside Every Day” pledge and visit fitaos.org for our weekly, engaging activities to connect you with nature every day. Share your favorite moments and photos. Tag us with #IPlayOutsideatHome and #FieldInstituteofTaos.

Stay tuned for videos, photos and more. We are all in this together on one planet. Let’s practice patience with each other as we take care of ourselves, the natural world and our communities. 

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