Enjoying Nature Responsibly: Your Outdoor Adventure Handbook
Whether you enjoy strolls through the woods, long-term camping trips, overlanding with the newest toys, or sitting in the park, it’s important to do so responsibly. While it’s essential that you stay safe, it’s also vital to do your part and spend your time outdoors as sustainably as possible. Every time you go out, think about what you can do to preserve the beauty of nature for your family and generations to come. Here is your handbook of ideas for fun and responsibility during your next outdoor excursion.
Fun Ways to Spend Time in Nature
There are many ways that you and your family can enjoy the splendor of nature. You can fly a kite, catch a fish, go bird watching, or anything in between. Make any excuse you can to get outside because, in addition to being fun, it’s also great for your body and soul. Time around nature can put you at ease, so much so that you’ll feel your stress melt away, and you’ll find yourself in a better mood.
You’ll feel even better when you spend time outdoors while engaging in sustainable activities. If you feel the urge to help the planet just because you’re outside, know it’s no coincidence. Studies have shown that people who spend more time outdoors are more concerned with the potential for climate change because they want to preserve the world’s beauty and ensure that future generations can enjoy that natural splendor.
While there are strategies that you can try to respect nature during any outdoor activity, there are also specific activities that can help the planet. A fun activity that the whole family can enjoy is going out and planting trees. In addition to having fun choosing and planting the trees, you’ll also get an incredible mental health boost over the years as you watch a young sapling grow into a full tree and know that you helped that to happen. Other rewarding activities include cleaning the highway, composting, and collecting rainwater.
Safety While Hiking and Camping
If you’re a more serious outdoor enthusiast and you enjoy challenging hikes and camping trips, you can do so while also respecting the environment. When you go anywhere in nature, be sure to leave no trace. Basically, you want to leave the campsite or trail in the same condition that you found it so nature can continue to thrive. Always pick up after yourself and respect wildlife by never approaching animals and never feeding them. Take a picture or sketch an animal to preserve the memory, then move on.
You can also do your part by avoiding waste and using sustainable products during your trip. Research sustainable outdoor brands that provide the products you need while helping the environment. For example, the company Picture Organic creates sweaters, mittens, and other equipment that can keep you warm during your adventure, and they make many of those items with recycled polyester. There’s also the REI Co-Op, which makes trail backpacks and other items, and they only work with partners that also do their part to fight climate change.
No matter how you practice sustainability, be sure to do so safely. Bring a first aid kit, even on single-day trips, so you can be ready for any potential emergency. Also, be aware of the weather and return home if it looks dangerous.
Finally, learn how to hike and camp safely when you may not have a cell signal. The first step is always to inform someone of where you’ll be and when you intend to return so they can alert the authorities if they don’t hear from you. It’s also wise to learn how to use a map and compass so you can always find your way. You can also learn other basic navigation techniques, like using the sun to understand which direction is south so you can keep your bearings.
Respecting The Water
During the summer months, heading down to a nearby lake, river, or oceanfront can be alluring, but you must also respect nature while enjoying fun in the sun.
If you decide to go to the beach, make it a point to leave only footprints. Clean up after yourself and properly dispose of garbage. Try to avoid plastic if possible because it can get into the water, and animals may try to eat it, which can be hazardous to their health. Bring a reusable water bottle, refill it when necessary, and then bring it home. Finally, be sure to follow posted signs and stay out of restricted areas where animals may be nesting.
There is a lot of fun to be had in the water, but you need to plan how to enjoy your time while sticking to sustainable principles. So, if you enjoy boating or riding a jet ski, maintain a proper speed to stay safe and avoid excessive wakes that can erode the shoreline over time. Also, avoid driving through marshes and areas of dense vegetation whenever possible. If fishing is your thing, review the guidelines ahead of time and stick to the designated bagging limits and legal fishing hours to reduce stress on the fish populations.
It’s important that you and your family take the opportunity to spend time outside so you can bond and enjoy the benefits of sunshine. While you’re out there, think about how you can help the planet, and you’ll be doing everyone a favor. When we’re good to the world, Earth will be good to us in return.