OUTDOORS FOR AN HOUR
April 21, 2020 - Let’s celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in our community by connecting with the Earth and noticing nature in person. There are many great virtual activities online for Earth Day and Earth Week. (Check out the Sierra Club https://www.teamsierra.org/everycorner and Celebrate National Parks Week with fun activities and resources https://www.nationalparks.org/our-work/campaigns-initiatives/national-park-week). But for one hour on April 22, let’s go outdoors and have a personal experience of nature.
Even with the pandemic, we can do so much out-of-doors. Here are some ideas from the McKinley Citizens’ Recycling Council (MCRC):
- Walk or bike a trail. The Adventure Gallup trails are still open. Find trails in the trail guide. See The Journey’s website at https://issuu.com/nwnmcog/docs/trailside_guide_2011a
- Connect with plants--start a garden or throw out some seed bombs. Here’s a video about how to make them from paper: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yR9cVXQWRc . Or plant tree seedlings in reused egg cartons. Use old corrugated cardboard cartons and plant all! See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edgSRYX2FLo . MCRC can provide the paper egg cartons. See our contact info below.
- What do you know about trees? You’ll find out if you go outside and spend some time with one. What kind of bark does it have? Are its leaves out yet? Does it host birds or bugs? How is it like you and how is it different from you? Are you grateful for trees yet? If not, remember that we share with them the cycle of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Want to know how much oxygen a tree produces? Check out https://www.thoughtco.com/how-much-oxygen-does-one-tree-produce-606785. Also, National Arbor Day is Friday, April 24 – go outside and hug a tree during this Earth Week.
- Identify those trees! A collaboration between Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian has resulted in Leafsnap, a free app that serves as a field guide.
- Watch birds and really see their behavior. You can do this even in your yard. Maybe you will notice a bird gathering twigs and other things for a nest? Here’s a video link for how to make a birdhouse from a milk carton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ND7XbM0vD8 . MCRC can supply you with recycled materials needed for this project. Also check out this fun short video on “10 Amazing Facts about Bird Nests” from the BBC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lneBlxZn6sg.
- Identify those birds! Want to know more about the birds you’re seeing, or even just hearing? Use an app to help you identify your feathered friend. Try the Audubon Bird Guide to North America (free for Android and iPhone; see also Audubon.org), ebird (free for Android and iPhone; see also ebird.org), or Song Sleuth (free for Android and iPhone; see also Songsleuth.com).
- The Trust for Public Land invites readers to head outside! Check out tpl.org/blog/florence-williams-nature-fix-coronavirus? and tpl.org/blog/itching-head-outside-read-first?.
- Become a citizen scientist! National Geographic lists a host of projects you can participate in, whether you’re interested in outer space, birds, water quality, or taking a butterfly census! Check out these projects and beginning your scientific study today! https://www.nationalgeographic.org/idea/citizen-science-projects/?page=1
- Connect your garden to a citizen scientist project! Organizations like The Great Sunflower Project and the Nativars Research Project connect plants in and around your yard with support for pollinators like bees and butterflies.
- Set up a place to compost your organic waste. This is a simple, but powerful thing to do to help our planet. Need some info to get started? Watch: https://learn.eartheasy.com/guides/composting/
- Sit in silence and focus on all the sounds of nature you can hear. We don’t need a video to tell us how to do that! Just slow down, be still, and breathe deeply.
- And, of course, be safe and don’t forget to practice the COVID-19 precautions!
What is your idea for spending time Outdoors for an Hour with Nature?
When you return indoors, check out the videos, crafts, and even the photo contest sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation’s Ranger Rick page at rangerrick.org. Continue your citizen scientist project from your desk by playing a game that helps NASA map the world’s coral reefs at http://nemonet.info/ (currently only available for Mac, iPhone and iPad).
No matter what you do, please let us know what you did to celebrate Earth Day in 2020. Go to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/recyclegallup/ to upload your photos, post a message, or share your craft idea. We very much look forward to hearing from you.
While every day is Earth Day, this one is particularly special in that its Earth Day’s 50th birthday! So, join us in celebrating by truly enjoying your world.
McKinley Citizens’ Recycling Council (MCRC). Contact us at 505-722-5142 or
Thank you to the McKinley Citizens' Recycling Council for their list of suggested activities to do outside in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
The University of New Mexico - Gallup
705 Gurley Ave.
Gallup, NM 87301