Even in the new age of social distancing and sheltering in place, it has become increasingly clear that people across state and national boundaries are intimately connected with one another.
As we work to reorder our lives and contemplate the future of personal interactions, work, travel, and school, it’s important to remember we are all connected by the natural resources this planet provides. From the water that feeds our communities, to plants and animals that make up healthy ecosystems, we are all part of a much larger system that sustains us. That’s true now more than ever before.
Understanding our connection to the natural world and taking positive steps to protect it can help create hope and optimism when we need it the most.
And science backs up the theory that kids who spend more time in nature grow up to be happier, more content adults.
At EarthEcho, we are environmentalists, youth leaders, educators, parents and mentors who believe youth have the power to change our world for the better. We are committed to using our unique experience, expertise, and e-learning content to address the current critical education gap for millions of students who are out of school.
April is traditionally a month that we dedicate to celebrating our planet and what we can do to protect it. As Earth Day approaches this year, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite at-home activities that individuals and families can do to help restore the planet and each other.
ACTIVITIES TO CONNECT WITH NATURE DURING QUARANTINE
Due to the pandemic, EarthEcho International recommends consulting state and community health departments and Coronavirus.gov before engaging in activities outside the home.
Whether it’s a pot of herbs on the windowsill or a container pollinator garden, planning a green patch and digging in the dirt are activities the entire family can enjoy. And it’s the gift that keeps on giving as that patch of soil becomes food for the table or a buffet for colorful pollinators like butterflies and native birds.
Regrowing food scraps is a waste reducing exercise and a fun project for budding environmentalists of all ages.
GET OUT AND EXPLORE
If it is safe to do so in your area, schedule outside time to take a walk and identify/document wildlife on iNaturalist. Spring is happening all around us and it’s the perfect time to connect with nature in your own backyard.
Check out the EarthEcho Water Challenge and get prepared and inspired to explore and protect your local water resources. You can still be part of a global movement even with social distancing!
Enjoy nature’s science lab… no textbooks or classrooms required. We love this activity that reveals the science behind the patterns and shapes of plants and animals.
Take a nature sketching field trip in your backyard.
Create wildlife habitats with bird feeders, toad abodes, butterfly watering stations or the natural materials in your own backyard. A simple bird feeder also provides a great way to play bird bingo and connect with nature from the safety of your home base.
You can do a bird count or nature watch even while at home through the amazing live web cams online! Our favorites are the Monterey Bay Aquarium livestreams (especially the Jelly Cam!), The Cornell Lab’s FeederWatch Cam and the HoneyBee Hive Cam. Or find your own favorite webcam through Explore.org where you can count lions or hippos in an African preserve or spot polar bears in the arctic.
Conduct a home energy audit to find ways to conserve precious resources and save money at the same time. Energy and Water Efficiency are great places to start!
Try Stargazing, using an app like Sky View. Watch for meteor showers in April and May. Also, be sure to watch for the International Space Station passing over your sky.
EXPLORE THROUGH NATURE BOOKS
Reading is a great way for the whole family connect with nature while staying indoors during quarantine. Some of our favorite titles by age group include:
Make a Splash!: A Kids Guide to Saving our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, & Wetlands by Cathryn Berger Kaye M.A. and Philippe Cousteau, Jr.
Follow the Moon Home by Philippe Cousteau, Jr.
Shark Lady by Jess Keating
Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington and Theodore Taylor III
Nature’s Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story by Lindsey McDivitt
If a Dolphin were a Fish by Loran Wlodarski
Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne
Middle School/High School Level
Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians series by Ellen Prager
Squirm, Skink, Chomp, SCAT, Flush, Hoot collection of novels by Carl Hiaasen
Going Blue: A Teen Guide to Saving our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, & Wetlands by Cathryn Berger Kaye M.A. and EarthEcho International
CONNECT WITH NATURE BY STREAMING
There are amazing documentaries and programs that can provide a respite from news and a passport to our natural world and beyond.
A few of our favorites include:
Chasing Coral, Mission Blue (Netflix)
Inventing Tomorrow, Xploration Awesome Planet (Amazon Prime)
David Attenborough’s Light on Earth (CuriosityStream)
EarthEcho Expedition videos
Visit EarthEcho Education at Home for more including free ongoing virtual events and homeschool resources!
- How Your Family Can Connect With Nature During Quarantine - June 1, 2020
- Plastic Seas and a New Generation of Problem Solvers - March 7, 2019
Yes! So many great ideas to connect with nature here. I feel that nature really does so much to restore one’s mental health. It is grounding and it reminds you how small we all are in this great world. So much beauty in nature to be thankful for.