Our interns had a week-long fall break during the week of Thanksgiving. Here are some ways they “did” nature during that time!
This year for my fall break, my family went to visit my older brother in St. Louis! Since we decided to “road trip” it and had our schedules booked up, I was wondering how I would be able to incorporate some form of nature into my break. As we were making our way to St. Louis, we saw a sign for the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site and decided to take a break from driving to check it out. The Cahokia Mounds is the largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico and at one point had around 120 man-made mounds. It was incredibly interesting to learn more about the history of the site and see how people interacted with nature in the past to build an entire community. It gave me an even greater appreciation for nature and for the people that were able to use the earth and their bare hands to build. It was a great way to connect back with nature, my only wish was that we would’ve gone on a warmer day (it was freezing and very windy!) but it was still a great experience. The Cahokia Mounds lie directly across the Mississippi River from St. Louis and if you look closely at the photo, you can see the skyline in the distance!
Over fall break, I went to St. Louis for a couple of days to visit my boyfriend and friends. Close to downtown, there is a huge park named Forest Park with many trails, a lake, and a picnic area named picnic island. This park spans 1,326 acres of land, within this park there is the St. Louis zoo, art museum, science museum, and historic museum. My friend group and I decided to walk to the St. Louis Zoo, which is free to all! On our walk we crossed a bridge, climbed a small hill with a small waterfall (which was frozen at the time), and walked through the beautiful trails on our way to the zoo. On a past trip, we got to ask the park manager questions about Forest Park. She told us that forest park is bigger than Central Park. As well as many recreational areas and an array of events that happen throughout the year. Traveling to a city you would never expect to find this beautiful piece of nature. Yet, being able to disconnect from the busy streets and connect to the natural world around us, while being within a city, is such an incredible experience.
My mom picked me up for Thanksgiving break with my dog Mick. Before heading home, we decided to take our dog on a walk around campus. On the walk, we came across this beautiful tree and captured a picture with the sun shining through. It was such a stunning site to see before I headed back home. Autumn trees are one of my favorite things about the changing seasons. Oftentimes, we are all so busy with our schedules that we forget to take a minute to look at the nature around us. I hope to spend more time being mindful of my surroundings over Winter break. I challenge everyone to spend a few extra moments taking in the wonders of nature around them the next time you step outdoors.
Since many students go home for fall break, the campus is quiet and feels more peaceful. My partner and I always take advantage of exploring parts of campus that are usually crowded and enjoy seeing how it changes every season. Below is a picture of the “Eternal Flame” on our main quad. It was gifted in 1912, which outdates the Alma Mater as one of the oldest lasting campus monuments. There is history throughout our whole campus, and exploring that during a campus-wide break is very restorative.
Before going home for fall break, I stopped by the six-pack (dorm) which was where I lived during my Freshman year of college. It was so nostalgic to take a walk with my friends in this location bringing back many fun memories. Furthermore, on top of this memorable walk, it was nice and relaxing to enjoy the fall colors as they changed reminding students that the first semester is coming to an end.