By Erica Hall, Fellowship & Summer Camps Manager
While this month is cold and hard at times, I believe it’s important to challenge yourself to still get outside, move your body and mind, and seek to find beauty and joy even in the darkest, coldest of days. The best way I find to do this is to take it a day at a time by yourself, with a friend, and with your community to nurture your need for nature, community and LIFE! Use the following day-by-day guide as your inspiration!
This challenge has a daily option for you to take up, but if you’re not able or interested in everything on the calendar feel free to set your own or mix up challenges. What matters this month is not what you do to get outside, but that you do just that: get outside. Nurture yourself and others in and with the world around you. Please share your February challenges with us @eaglebluffmn on social media so we can celebrate your adventures along with you! We are excited for you to take on this month, and be it 3 days a week or 7: get out (and don’t forget to have fun)!
Day 1: Choose one word that will remind you to nurture yourself and the life around you this month; a word that will remind you to challenge yourself to get active, connected, and outside and a word that is meaningful to you. Share your word with someone and get outside and write it in the snow!
Day 2: It’s Groundhog Day! Go outside and see what kind of shadows you can make! Are there any colors in your shadow? How does your shadow change depending on what it lands on?
Day 3: Take a 3 minute break today and listen for nature noises.
Day 4: As you scurry inside from your vehicle/bus, take a moment to look up and take 3 deep breaths. In the cold it is so easy to go go go without noticing the world around you – what does the cold air feel like in your lungs?
Day 5: Talk with a friend or family member about a memory you share together outside! Have any old photos to dig up?
Day 6: Scavenger hunt! Each Thursday is a different observation to make or find outside – this week find 6 different colors in nature!
Day 7: Expressing gratitude is a helpful way to remember you have things to be grateful for, and to spread compassion to others. Today express gratitude! Maybe it is to someone for doing their job, for being who they are, to the earth for nourishing food to eat, to yourself for who and how you are, whatever it is – share a thank you!
Day 8: PLAY outside today! Snow games, create something in snow/ice, play catch, whatever! Just get outside, get active, and get silly!
Day 9: Listen to something you love, be it a podcast, song, friends voice, or the world around you and explore a new spot in your area! A new adventure awaits potentially just another block away!
Day 10: Try to remember a first or early ‘wow’ moment you had in nature and share that story with someone. What is their story?
Day 11: Have any live plants in your home or pass the same tree every day outside? Today, have a sense of wonder about something that you see everyday! How does the plant grow? Is there any new growth? Why does it grow that way? How has it changed through time? What is something surprising about it to you?
Day 12: Grab a buddy and BUILD or create something today! Snow creature, fortress, anything – get out and get creative. (Hot cocoa is always a great post-snow fun choice)
Day 13: Scavenger hunt! Find 1 pine cone or plant seed! Create a life story of the item and tell the story to someone. Don’t know? Make one up!
Day 14: Valentines Day! We LOVE being outside. Write a valentine to Nature and write down or draw all the things you love most about being outside.
Day 15: Try a new outdoor adventure activity like snowshoeing, skiing, ice fishing, or sledding. Check your local nature center or parks and recreation board to see if they have any events or equipment available for you to try.
Day 16: Go on a walk with a friend!
Day 17: Nurture nature today and pick up any litter or trash you find.
Day 18: Get your heart rate UP outside! Jog the block, ski or snowshoe, hike up the sledding hill, whatever it is – get your body nice and warm even when it’s not warm outside!
Day 19: Gather nature objects and spell something with them!
Day 20: Scavenger hunt! Today feel the following things in nature: something cold. Something rough. Something smooth. Something scratchy. Something furry!
Day 21: Watch the sunrise!
Day 22: Nurture someone else today and give a call, meet up with, or write a note to someone you haven’t gotten to in a while.
Day 23: Make a bird feeder and put it up! There are PLENTY of options that wouldn’t cost any money beyond buying bird seed which can be found in most home improvement/general stores – find the right option for you by looking at plans online. What kind of feathered friends do you have in your area?
Day 24: Get dirt on your hands! In a potted plant or outside, just get up close and personal with some earth. Breathe it in and feel how it feels in your hands.
Day 25: BIG walk today! Walk for 25 minutes! Bring a friend or go by yourself – do what brings you joy.
Day 26: Scavenger hunt! Taste something fresh – find a vegetable, fruit, etc., something nourished by the sun and soil that will in turn nourish you.
Day 27: Today is national RETRO day! We want you to go back to the ‘good ole days’ and take some time outside – no phones, no tablets, no screens. Just you and the people around you. Do something you used to do! Make a snow angel, have a snowball fight, anything that brings in the nostalgia.
Day 28: Watch the sunset!
Day 29: JUMP FOR JOY! You made it through February! Take this special day that we don’t always get and do something special with it. Reflect on your last month and what you loved or didn’t with all you did. Look forward to the month ahead and plan more adventures to nurture yourself and the life around you!