Girl with umbrella smiles and reaches out

It’s in our nature

by Paul Austin,
Executive Director

I have been having lots of conversations with friends, family and colleagues in the last few days. Mostly I am checking in to see how each of them are doing given all that is facing us today. Naturally, each person’s story of how they are affected is different. Some are challenged by trying to work from home with children, some are alone and eager for someone to talk to, while others are called to work each day as part of the response to the crisis.

Despite these differences in experience, there is one theme that shows up in almost every conversation: how important nature and the outdoors are to staying healthy and coping with the stress people are feeling. It may be a daily walk, a visit to a park, or even watching squirrels and birds out the window, but it seems like everyone I talk to is finding something important in the outdoors.

I would love to hear from you! How is nature helping you get through these difficult times? Share your story, along with a video or a photo. We’ll feature stories from our members on social media—use the hashtag #inmynature and mention us @conservationmn.

In my office at work, there is a white board above my desk where I track projects or write things I want to remember. About a year ago, I wrote the words “what we need inside, is outside.” It was just a thought, but I have left it there, not wanting to erase it for some reason. When Jenny and I loaded the kids in the car and headed to Lebanon Hills Park for some fresh air and exercise last weekend, it was clear from the packed to capacity parking lots that we all shared a need for something only the outdoors could provide.

It is no secret that Minnesotans love the lakes and outdoors that make our state unique. But perhaps we are all noticing it just a little bit more these days.

I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy, and that you get a moment today to enjoy nature. Let us know how!