At Nevada Outdoor School we are singing praises for a summer of clear skies! No smoke is worthy of celebration! We are thankful for wet afternoon thunderstorms and fire prevention behavior because without the fires and smoke of years past we have been able to really enjoy Nevada blue skies for our own recreation as well as our opportunities to share nature with kids. There is no doubt that when the air is fresh and clean there is a positive reaction in our bodies and our minds.
There is a vast amount of research that supports the ‘clear skies, clear minds’ mantra. The book Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams, and many others, present the data that tells us what we intrinsically know, when we choose to listen to our spirits, minds, and bodies. Getting outdoors, where pollution is minimal and the sun shines bright, makes a human feel better. Spiritually, we enhance our nature connection, recognizing that we are part of something much bigger than just ourselves. Mentally, the disconnection from phones and screens frees our minds for other inputs and outputs. Physically, blood pressure decreases, cortisol and other stress hormones dip, and vitamin D production is sufficient. When we say “get outside, it is good for humans everywhere,” there is a lot of scientific knowledge backing us up.
We wrapped up our summer with our final summer camp at Angel Lake. Nevada Outdoor School purchased a group fishing license for the 10 Angel Lake campers and they were able to attend the fishing clinic hosted by the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Campers went to different stations learning important fishing skills. At the end of the clinic, every camper was gifted a brand new fishing pole by NDOW that they got to test out while at camp! Many fish were caught!
Spent Outdoors is one of the many metrics we record at Nevada Outdoor School to
help us measure success. This summer we
were able to spend over 600 hours outdoors with our campers and Nature at Nine
participants. Clear skies made that easy
and enjoyable! Earlier this year, as an
organization we challenged ourselves to accumulate 500 hours of outside time
from January to June. In order to
accomplish our goal each individual needed to spend about 10 hours a week
outside. One might think this was an
easy challenge for an outdoor school, but in fact, it was not. We had to consciously make choices and put
forth effort to be outside, especially when it’s dark and cold.
Nevada Outdoor School campers fishing with their new fishing poles
provided by the Nevada Department of Wildlife, after campers completed a
fishing clinic at Angel Lake.
In the 21st Century getting outside is not as easy as one may think it should be, at any time of the year! There are a lot of inside attractions and distractions. Televisions, couches and comfy recliners, food pantries, computers, gaming systems, and temperature control are things that easily woo us to remain inside. Something important to remember, is that to ‘be outside’ does not only mean that you hiking or overly physical. There is value to sitting on your porch! That is an easy misperception to have, and one that we too at Nevada Outdoor School get caught up in. There are so many things that can be done outside! Both high and low movement activities have value. It is less about what you do and more about the setting in which you are doing it, outdoors! Things like hunting, hiking, kayaking, shooting a bow and arrow, gardening, and walking a dog are amazing and get your heart pumping a bit more, but things like reading under a tree, napping in the shade, painting outside, barbequing dinner, dining al fresco, and floating on an innertube are also worthy activities to dedicate outside time too.
As we being to transition in to fall, check out nevadaoutdoorschool.org for our upcoming outdoor activities. Community hikes, our Dutch Oven Cook Off fundraiser in Winnemucca, and outdoor skill workshops are just a few of the activities we have coming soon that will get you outside. Go on, get outside, clear that mind in our clear skies, it is good for humans everywhere!