Spooky Animals & Nature: NOPE!

Have you ever encountered an odd looking nature phenomenon? Many animals in nature often create their habitats based on the material around them, including man made objects. Nature learns to adapt to its surroundings and often, it can send shivers down your spine. Minerals, rocks and other natural resources often take shape in odd looking things, creating the illusion that it is something sinister. This collection of photographs will certainly make you turn the other way! As spooky festivities come to and end, here is a list of 42 times Nature made us say NOPE (WARNING: This list might be too scary for you)”.

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Outdoor Play and Childhood Development

Modern lifestyles are becoming unhealthier worldwide. Today’s children tend to spend a lot more time indoors than past generations of kids. Whether it is young toddlers being given an iPad to settle them down throughout the day, the constant need of computers for classwork at an increasingly young age, or the persistence of phones everywhere around us, there is an increase in the use of technology in our society, especially at a young age. This is resulting in children having decreased exposures to outdoor environments. In fact, a 2018 study in the United Kingdom revealed that children spent about four hours outside per week, roughly 50% less than their parents had as kids (Kennedy, 2022).

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Nature’s Effects on Quality of Sleep

Sleep is a restorative process where our body heals us in complex ways. We all know the benefits of nature on overall health, but what about sleep? In what way does nature have a physiological effect on our sleep quality?

In today’s modern society, technology, work, school, and other factors can negatively affect our quality of sleep due to the stress that accompanies them. Poor quality of sleep is linked to health risks such as diabetes, obesity, depression, anxiety, and even poor immune system functioning. It is important to acknowledge that as our lives become more entangled with responsibilities, it is crucial to maintain good sleep habits and rituals. One practice that could help is to spend time in nature.

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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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