Why do we need forests?

Forests are perhaps the most iconic and recognized biome on Earth. When most people hear the word nature, a forest is what comes to mind. And with good reason! Forests make up around 1/3 of all the land on Earth. Meanwhile, all of those trees are the foundation of many land-based food chains. At the same time, people all over …

9 wild facts about milkweeds

If you’ve done any research into wildflowers or wild gardening, you’ve probably heard about milkweeds. These pretty and widespread wildflowers are super important for native biodiversity and can attract a lot of fascinating pollinators. You can find milkweeds throughout most of North and South America as well as part of Africa. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 70 …

How does being outdoors relieve stress?

If you’ve read other posts from my Nature and Health mini-series, you know that the number of ways that nature improves our health is staggering. Spending time in natural spaces benefits us in so many ways it can be hard to keep track of them all. In this post, I’d like to expand upon one especially valuable benefit of going …

What are springtails?

My friend Steve recently sent me a video of some mystery animals from his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When he walked outside on a spring day after some rain showers, he spotted a weird, blue-gray puddle on the pavement. It didn’t shine like water. He thought maybe it was an oil stain or paint mark. It seemed almost granular, and… …

Are mosquitoes attracted to colors?

Summer is a fantastic time to enjoy the outdoors and connect with nature. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world, it’s also when mosquitoes are most active. This means getting snacked-on while you’re trying to enjoy being outside, and itchy bites later on. Because of all that unpleasantness, people will go to great lengths to avoid mosquitoes. Beyond bug sprays …

5 More Natural Gardening Tips

Natural gardening is an increasingly popular way to reduce environmental impact while creating beautiful outdoor spaces. These spaces can also support wildlife, which is another good thing for the planet. In addition, they provide opportunities to encounter and learn about nature right at home. This Outdoor Tips mini-series on Gardening for Wildlife will help you create back-yard ecosystems at home. …

What to do if you find a baby bird

During the spring and summer, people often tend to find baby birds in parks, gardens, or at home. Every April I start receiving texts and e-mails from friends worried over the safety of a young bird in their yard or by their office. Adorably ugly and helpless-looking, it’s easy to feel bad for baby birds and want to protect them. …

How to use the Merlin App for birdwatching

Developers release new outdoor mobile apps all the time. If you’re learning birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology‘s birding app Merlin is one you can’t miss. The app’s new features provide great tools for birdwatchers of all skill levels. Since being a beginner birdwatcher can be especially challenging, it’s important to recognize how these can help people that are just starting …

What is a food web?

Have you ever heard the expression “higher on the food chain”? Alternatively, another common and related expression is the “web of life” or “circle of life”. All of these terms sound cool and important, but what do they mean? More importantly, what can they tell us about how nature works? Ask any scientist or naturalist, and they’ll tell you that …

5 ways nature improves mental health

Outdoor activities and nature study give us a way to escape the daily grind, get some fresh air, and take a break from the indoors. However, beyond just being a source of fun, recreation, and learning, time outdoors also benefits our health in many ways. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; people have gone to nature to feel serene, calm, …