The Beauty of Birdwatching

Photo of a Blue Jay Taken by Dr. Robert Kanter

If you were to look outside your window right now, what is the first wild animal you would see? Whether your backyard is a lush forest, a concrete balcony, or somewhere between, your wildlife sightseeing will vary. However, regardless of your location, there is one animal group that you are likely to see within mere seconds of looking outside – birds. Birds are one of the most diverse and abundant species taxa on Earth. In addition to being leisurely to spot, birds provide our senses with rare instances of natural color and song. Bird-watching is a readily available activity that can bring us closer to nature and provide us with fascinating natural phenomena to witness.

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Mental and Physical Benefits of Gardening

After COVID-19, there has been a spike in mental health issues that has affected people in many ways. Research has shown that green spaces and nature have a positive impact on mental health. Even a simple park with trees can positively impact one’s wellbeing. Gardening has also been shown to be beneficial to physical and mental wellbeing and health. Gardening helps an individual feel oneness with nature, increases happiness, and lowers the risk for many mental illnesses. It is said, “Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years.” -Unknown.

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Plant Behavior: Do Plants Have Perceptions of their Environment?

By now, everyone has probably heard Ivan Pavlov’s name in a Psychology class when discussing classical conditioning. His experiment with his dogs was revolutionary. What if this experiment was carried out with plants— and they responded the same way that the dogs did? Would this be evidence that plants can perceive and react to the environments around them – or even have a conscience? 

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How Nature has Affected Me

Nature has taught me how to connect with myself and others. Even though I grew up in the city of Chicago, when I did get to connect with nature, I felt at home. I got the chance to clear my mind and get away from all of the traffic, construction, and other city noises. Nature has allowed me to reflect more on my life and the things that truly matter. 

Newborns and Nature

How can newborns benefit from being introduced to nature?

It is widely known that incorporating nature into the lives of adults can help increase mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. Most studies focus on age groups from childhood through the elderly. But can newborns and infants benefit from being introduced to nature at such a young age? Research has found that newborns can benefit from nature in similar ways to older age groups. In addition, aspects of nature may be able to facilitate the acquisition of certain skills which older people have already developed. 

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