MM- Beyond the Garden

by Inga Yandell

If you admire great explorers for their spirit of adventure or wealth of unique insight and experiences, following in their footsteps is easier than you might think. Shift perspective by deriving inspiration from curiosity, starting with a closer look at nature in your own neighbourhood.

Neither, time or travel need impair your mission to explore nature for beyond the garden flourishes an array of urban wildlife and undiscovered ecosystems. Besides the obvious community park, life musters in a myriad of places from puddles to paddocks, alleys and vacant lots, after dark the night skies illuminate natural wonders all worth investigating. (Precaution: always abide trespassing laws and young children should be accompanied by an adult).

The experience of exploring nature offers a chance for family outings and counteracts the stresses of everyday life — as you indulge your imagination, sharpen your skills of observation and enjoy the magic all around you.

Objectives: Use the great outdoors as a natural classroom. Explore nature to unwind and connect with your family. Rediscover your curiosity for life starting with a suburban safari.

Methods: Give each outing a different theme or challenge adding an element of difficulty, excitement and diversity to expand your knowledge and appreciation of nature. For example, try taking a sensory safari with one person blindfolded and see how many plants you can identify by smell and touch. You might also take on the role of a wildlife explorer, turning your stroll into a study of bird behaviour, the options are endless…

Resources: Exploring Nature – facts and fun activities to draw inspiration from. Backyard Buddies Tips, tricks, stories and other resources for native plants and animals within Australia. Nature Play – ideas for parents on how to get your children more involved in outdoor activities (a reference for Western Australia with useful resources applicable anywhere). Nature Explore– is a collaborative program of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation with research-based workshops and educational materials.

So, what are you waiting for? Start exploring nature — beyond the garden, today!

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Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
Inga Yandell

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