New Year's Resolution: Spend More Time in Nature

Happy New Year!

As we leave the holiday season and swing into 2010, I have many resolutions that involve improved health, balance, time with loved ones, and calm. Foremost among them, and the act that can really enhance all of the above, is, of course, spending more time in nature.

Richard Louv and the Children & Nature Network have done a great deal of work linking time spent in nature with great improvements in health, cognition, creativity and well-being. Most of us already know and experience this -- All one needs to do is step outside, take a walk, breathe deeply and look around. Of course there's a rich, unique experience to be had in the moment, as well, while we're busy accumulating benefits and filling the well of our own capacity for wonder and awe.

Over the holidays, good friends held a hiking party, which was a superb, healthy, uplifting alternative to an indoor gathering. The weather, which had threatened rain, held out. The spot was the breathtaking Ring Mountain Preserve in Tiburon, CA, which I wrote about when I visited at wildflower time. And the host had prepared (and hiked in!) a veritable feast of holiday foods and hot Toddies and chocolate, which we enjoyed along with great company.

While not every gathering is going to have this confluence of fortune (I'd be hard-pressed to pull off one to this degree), I took with me a great deal of inspiration and creativity as I headed back down the mountain, the smaller kids still running around up top. Sure, why not have an outdoor party when everyone else is indoors? Why not get ourselves and our friends out in nature, to enjoy the bounty of beauty and fun that is so available and so often overlooked? Whether it's a local park, a short trail, a community garden, or a backyard fortress, nature is somewhere near you and ready to fill the well of awe.

I'll post more pictures of this special hike on my page. They're also up on my blog.

In the meantime, Happy Nature New Year! I think it's going to be a good one.

Photos: Susan Sachs Lipman

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Comment by Suz Lipman on January 6, 2010 at 11:54am
Thank you for the warm welcome, Amy! I'm thrilled to be here. I hope to get to know the community and issues deeply and to foster C&NN's growth. Hello, everyone! I look forward to getting better acquainted. Please let me know how I can help you get the word out about your nature events and news.
Comment by amy pertschuk on January 6, 2010 at 8:46am
I'm very excited to welcome Suz Lipman to the C&NN team. As Social Media Director, she'll be a regular contributor to C&NN Connect and the face behind our Twitter and Facebook accounts. Suz is a longtime writer and social media manager as well as a passionate advocate for getting children into nature. She worked for many years with her local Safe Routes to Schools Task Force and as a Girl Scout troop leader. Her blog, Slow Family Online (, is filled with inspirational ideas about nature activities, seasonal and cultural observations, crafts, and other ways to slow down and enjoy the outdoors and one another. I greatly look forward to Suz's contributions to C&NN in 2010 and beyond.

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