On average, Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors, so it’s easy to forget our vital lifeline to the natural world around us. Spending time in nature is a proven tonic to the stress and fatigue of modern life for adults and kids. As you explore outside, you grow aware of nature’s subtle cues, and how to watch and listen and do no harm. Even your yard can safely invite and support wildlife with the addition of a few essentials.
Connecting with nature can be as simple as a stroll in the park. Whether you like to walk, paddle, bike, or just sit quietly, time spent outdoors is good for our health and inspires us to be better stewards of the planet we share. Plus, you never know what you might learn! No matter how you like to roll — in a group, on your own, or with the kids — there are maps, guides, kits, and tours to help you explore parks, beaches, and nature preserves around the Suncoast.
Respecting wildlife and their homes while in the woods or on the water means protecting those cherished prime fishing spots, sunset dolphin sightings, hatching sea turtles, bird songs, and more. Wildlife is a central part of the ecosystem we rely on for our health and economy. Taking a mindful moment to consider how your actions affect wildlife and knowing what to do (or not do) when you encounter an animal in distress helps preserve those special wildlife encounters for generations to come.
Our backyards are a place to relax, eat, socialize, and spend time with family. Why not offer a place for wildlife to do the same? With continued development and loss of Florida’s natural areas, it’s never been more important to nurture birds, pollinators, and other species anywhere we can. Small tweaks that support the basic needs of wildlife, and provide peace and quiet, can transform your yard into a beautiful oasis for your family and the wildlife families that live around you.
“Waking up early to walk the beach at dawn is exhilarating, believe it or not! I’m a volunteer turtle monitor with Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, and it’s a unique and thrilling experience to be the first to spot signs of overnight turtle nesting activity on the beach each morning. I walk the beach with my husband from mid-April through October during sea turtle nesting season. It’s peaceful, we get a little exercise, and we’re helping protect the turtles.”
— Christina Pitchford, Realtor®, Suncoast Homes & Dreams
Please tell us about your Nature-related success story. Here are a few questions to get you started: What changes are you making? Why? What has the process been like? What’s the impact? If selected, we will contact you for an interview to develop a feature story on the Green Living Toolkit.
Improved mental and physical health: reduced stress and anxiety, enhanced immune system and cognitive functioning, increased self-esteem, and improved mood and focus.
Avoidance of potential health care costs and opportunity for low-cost or free recreation, fitness, and social activities at local parks.
Higher curb appeal, potential flood reduction with landscape features, staycation appeal and backyard amenities.
Enhanced protection and support for wildlife and plants and their habitats, water quality protection, climate change mitigation.
More resilient community, healthy ecosystems that buffer against losses from climate change and natural disasters, increased connection to place and land, bolstering a sense of pride and stewardship.