Enjoying nature from indoors
As we navigate the uncertainty surrounding the spread of COVID-19, we at the Lake Placid Land Conservancy find ourselves searching for ways to continue with business as usual.
Unfortunately, in this moment, there is no business as usual. But while we are experiencing a lot of change, we are also very fortunate that enjoying the natural world is one thing that remains constant, especially here in the Adirondacks. In these stressful times, we wanted to share some ways you and your family can enjoy the outdoors from inside the comfort of your own home or yard.
Be sure to tag us on your adventures on Instagram and Facebook at @ConserveLandADK, and please share ideas of your own.
Take a virtual tour of the outdoors
¯ Our Conservation Monitoring Program StoryMap (https://bit.ly/2x98sqN) gives an overview of one of our favorite LPLC projects that you can get involved with, and shares some of the great imagery that volunteers throughout the Adirondacks have captured via trailcams and photographs. You can also tour the native pollinator gardens we’ve helped plant as an Adirondack Pollinator Project partner (https://bit.ly/33wHaHk). You also won’t want to miss our friends over at the Wild Center who have a virtual tour of the museum and Wild Walk that’s fantastic (wildcenter.org/virtual-visit).
View a nature livestream
¯ Explore.org (explore.org/livecams) has dozens of animal and nature livestreams to get a closer look at your favorite wildlife. If you are looking for an Adirondack experience, check out the Ausable River Association’s livestream of Lake Placid’s Mirror Lake (youtube.com/watch?v=3vcIdNU3Zy0). The Cincinnati Zoo is also hosting daily educational livestreams featuring their vast array of animals (cincinnatizoo.org/news-releases/cincinnati-zoo-is-bringing-the-zoo-to-you).
¯ Check out iNaturalist (inaturalist.org) to learn about what critters and plants are found locally and around the world. If exploring iNaturalist sparks your citizen science flame, keep an eye out on our events page (lakeplacidlandconservancy.org/events) as we offer trainings annually on how to become an iNaturalist pro.
Read a good nature book
¯ Finally pick up that book about trees or the world’s ecosystems that’s been sitting on your shelf for years or check out some of our recommendations: “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben, “The Way Through the Woods” by Litt Woon Long, “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson, “Bringing Nature Home” by Doug Tallamy, and our personal favorite, “A Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold. If you have a local library card, you can sign up to gain access to hundreds of free e-books and audio books (cefls.org/library-patrons/downloads/ebooks/)! And if you’re a New York resident, you can access even more titles by signing up for a library card through New York Public Library (nypl.org/books-music-movies/ebookcentral/simplye).
Watch some nature TV
¯ If you haven’t seen these inspiring nature documentary series, now would be a wonderful time to catch up on “Planet Earth,” “Life,” “Blue Planet,” and Ken Burns’ “The National Parks.” Local PBS channels offer great science programming, like Nature and NOVA, and streaming services offer unique documentaries like “Birders” on Netflix and “Jane,” the story of conservationist Jane Goodall, on Disney.
Catch out nature podcasts
¯ Some of our favorites include: “The American Birding Podcast,” “Gaze at the National Parks,” “Ologies,” “Out-LAND-Ish,” “The Alpinist,” the “46 of 46 Podcast” and the ever-entertaining “Foot Stuff Podcast.”
Get a head start on your garden
¯ Now is the perfect time to start sprouting your own seeds inside your home. Sprouts are super easy and fun to grow. With a mason jar, seeds, and a bit of water, you can enjoy them in your salad in less than a week! Salad greens grow quickly and the young leaves make for great eats from windowsill pots. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant have longer growing seasons, so starting them inside in the next few weeks will give them a great head start before transplanting them in your garden.
¯ One of the best ways to enjoy the world around us is through art. Sketch the view from your window — if you need brushing up on your drawing skills, the Kennedy Center is releasing daily lunch doodle videos (kennedy-center.org/education/mo-willems). The first episode features how to draw a pigeon! Practice your namaste and relieve some stress with a nature coloring page (coloringnature.org) or test out your backyard photography skills. If you’re up for a challenge, try your hand at making a felted animal (downeastthunderfarm.com) And check out PBS’s free educational art videos for more inspiration at The Art Assignment (theartassignment.com).
(Kerry Crowningshield is executive director of the Lake Placid Land Conservancy.)