Are you a backyard naturalist? Connecting with nature can give us a positive boost

Those staying home seek solace outside

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Becoming a "backyard naturalist” may be exactly what you need to get that extra boost while social distancing.

“It can be peaceful and relaxing and people may get different things out of it,” said Chis Farrell, with Audubon Florida.

Most of us are already backyard naturalists and don’t even realize it.

“Anybody can be a backyard naturalist. All you need is the time to walk around your yard and pay attention to things you normally haven’t paid attention to in the past," said Farrell.

All you have to do take a look outside in your backyard and take a moment to observe what animals or plants are back there.

Ferrell says birds are a good place to start since they frequent backyards and make relaxing sounds. Ask yourself or even your children: What do they look like? What sounds do they make?

“Birds are a great place to start with those kinds of programs or home education," said Ferrell. “Have the children think about how your yard is either meeting the needs or not meeting the needs, and then you could launch a project to maybe fill in some of those needs -- provide water, provide shelter.”

A fun way to get started would be to participate in Audubon Florida’s “Birdathon,” starting April 22 on Earth Day.

You can go out into your yard, take photos of the different birds you see and submit them on their portal. Those who submit will be eligible for prizes.

But being a backyard naturalist doesn’t stop at birds. What else do you see in your yard? Perhaps you’ll some fish if you live by a lake, river or pond. You could possibly see some rabbits or even deer.

Take some time to step outside, observe, connect with nature and relax.

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