For those of you who joined Bluegrass Greensource in including getting outdoors more among your 2014 resolutions, I hope it’s one you’re actually going to keep. Beyond the obvious benefits of getting fresh air, vitamin-D enriched sunshine and exercise, being around nature can boost energy levels and relieve stress. It also can remind us how important our natural surroundings are to our quality of life.
Greensource is asking everyone, adults and children alike, to enjoy more time outdoors this coming year, maybe with a hike, a walk around your neighborhood or geocaching, a real-life treasure hunt. Anything that lets us “unplug” from electronic gadgets and enjoy the outdoors will count.
Learning to identify the trees along your street would provide fun and interesting outdoor time for your family. You could even set a goal to visit at least one state park this year. For a list of other great ideas, click here and search “resolutions.”
A pair of bald eagles perch on a bare branch at Kentucky Dam Village where my family loves to go. (Photo by Donna Stinnett)
My family has agreed to accept the challenge. This past weekend, we started by “unplugging” from electronic gadgets for a day. No phones, TV, computers or iPads – just a day of family time. As a mom of two, 10 and 8, I was looking forward to a day without Minecraft discussions, Jessie episodes and texting marathons.
I did not take into account the fact we use our smartphones to tell time, iPads to do science fair project research and that UK would be playing Vanderbilt. We ended up taking advantage of the warmer weather and spent lots of time outside – walking, playing basketball and doing much-needed yard work. That night, we enjoyed a family game night. All in all, we learned that we could survive while taking some time away from gadgets. There was even talk about a day of no electricity, but I’ll have to check UK’s schedule first.
This summer, we plan to explore a state park we’ve never been to before. I grew up going to Kentucky Dam Village with my family, and I really enjoy taking my kids there now. They just can’t get enough of Mom’s “back in the day” stories or saying the park’s name with a giggle. We’ve enjoyed the park’s hiking trails, swimming spots and fishing and golfing opportunities.
The 18-hole golf course is really top-notch and well maintained, plus some of the local wildlife may even join you. If you have a favorite state park, share it on our Bluegrass Greensource Facebook page here and maybe we will visit it this year.
The year is off to a great start already as my family resolves to get outdoors more. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with nature and discovering new things with my kids. I’m sure you have some great ideas of your own for spending more time outdoors. I’d love to hear about all the fun activities, but only after you’ve enjoyed your time outside.
Chris Clabes is the development and public relations coordinator at Bluegrass Greensource. Before joining Greensource, Chris worked as a consultant for numerous nonprofit organizations across the state, including the formation of Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative and Gov. Beshear’s Commission on Philanthropy. She was Kentucky 4-H Foundation’s executive director and served as the director of finance for the National Association of Home Builders’ Political Action Committee in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky.