People know me as an avid nature lover and outdoorsmen. I look the part too; beard, flannel, and nature stickers covering my Nalgene bottle and laptop. My countless outdoor adventure stories further cement my status as the tree hugging nature dude. So here’s the kicker, I went on my first camping trip when I was eighteen. My friends are stunned about this, as they assumed I was a Boy Scout when I was little. I laugh it off, but it has made me wonder, what is the spark that leads people to care for the environment?
After being an outdoor trip leader for two years, I have seen people come in on trips with a wide range of outdoor experience. What is fascinating to see is that everyone is there to grow and learn. I do not think age or gender matter when stepping onto the outdoor scene. I believe the thing that matters is that people acknowledge that they have a curiosity to learn and understand the ecosystems that surround them. What resources are available to help you nurture your nature curiosity?
For starters, it is important to remind everyone that nature surrounds us. You do not need to travel far to learn more about that oak tree in your front yard or seeing the benefits of grasses in stopping beach dune erosion. With the pandemic still prevalent I know it has been hard for people to get outdoors. For health and safety concerns our facility is still close but that does not mean learning needs to stop!
We have put more time and energy building our virtual presence so our knowledge can continue to reach you. I have talked to the herbs in the container garden and the flowers in the butterfly garden and they are excited to get a space on our virtual platforms. PlantsMap has become the virtual platform of choice to showcase our plants. It is an exciting time to expand our plant knowledge to the digital landscape.
What is fascinating about this online database is that it allows us to connect the physical plant to their virtual profile. In time, QR code tags will be placed along the boardwalk and trails which will bridge the two worlds together! But in the meantime, you can continue learning about our plants from the comfort of your home. Go ahead and check out our PlantsMap page to learn and identify what plants live around you. Share your new knowledge of plants with people. Be proud when you help spark their nature heart!