By Shaina Waterhouse
Show some love to your local Triangle Land Conservancy nature preserve this Valentine’s Day by getting outside and exploring one of our trails! Our green spaces have a lot to offer from hiking and biking trails to picturesque scenery perfect for any artist searching for inspiration.
The opportunity to explore beautiful natural areas isn’t the only reason to love the TLC nature preserves this Valentine’s Day. Below are 1o compelling reasons you should show your appreciation for green spaces this year.
A 2019 study published by Frontiers in Psychology found 20 minutes spent in nature can significantly reduce stress levels.
Step outside this weekend for a stroll at one of your local nature preserves. Switching off your thoughts and enjoying the lush foliage and fresh smell of leaves and pine needles will ease any tension you’ve been feeling this week. To receive the full relaxing benefit of your nature walk, however, be sure to silence your cellphone and focus on the trail in front of you instead of the world inside your pocket.
Once you step onto one of our nature preserve hiking trails, you may be surprised just how many miles you end up walking or biking. The twisting trails are sure to pique your curiosity and have you wandering farther into the preserve.
Offers an opportunity to unplug
If you’re like most people, technology probably dominates the majority of your day. You check your phone when you wake up, spend the day working on the computer, and then come home at night to relax and watch TV. That’s a lot of screen time.
Stepping into nature can help you disconnect from the constant stream of information. Look up and let your eyes focus on the trail path or the birds flitting among the trees. Stop worrying about your news streams for a little while and soak in the fresh air and sunlight. Your eyes will thank you for the break and your body will enjoy the stretch.
Getting outside is an amazing way to keep your kids entertained for an evening. Head out to one of our trails with a water bottle and have a scavenger hunt. Create a list of commonly found items for your children to collect or record as you go along your hike and offer a small prize at the end.
Picnicking is another novel idea your children are sure to enjoy. As a family, you can pack a picnic basket full of sandwiches and snacks then hike or bike to a clear spot to eat. Brumley Nature Preserve is the perfect picnic spot with a large grassy lawn positioned right next to a clear pond. All we ask is that you take all of your trash with you when you’re done eating.
Provides learning opportunities
TLC has a bunch of wonderful learning opportunities for children as well as adults.
If you’re interested in learning more about climate resiliency as well as how local organizations are working to close gaps in our food system, attend the March 12 Wild Ideas for Farms and Forests event. If you’re looking for something a little more family-friendly, check out our monthly Get Wild! events. The next one will be added to the calendar soon. We also have an opportunity to learn more about birds during The Great Backyard Bird Count — we’re hosting walks on Feb. 14, 15, 16 and TLC preserves. The best part about this event is you can do it either at a preserve or from your own home.
Keep an eye on the TLC events page for other great learning opportunities throughout the year.
Encourages healthy eating
Outdoor activity encourages healthy eating because it reminds you to pay attention to nature and the natural, whole foods it provides.
It also provides an opportunity to learn more about the agricultural process and gardening. When you’re involved in growing food, you get to experience first-hand the benefits of fresh produce while interacting outside with nature on a regular basis.
One of TLC’s goals is to support local farms and food to promote nutrition and the importance of locally grown produce. In pursuit of this goal, TLC will provide opportunities for new farms at Bailey and Sarah Williamson Preserve through partnerships with Wake County’s NextGen Farming Program and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems. The grand opening of the preserve will be April 25 and we encourage you to put it on your calendar to attend!
Contributes to community development
Protecting and maintaining your local natural areas is a wonderful way to get involved in your community. Outside in nature is a great place to connect with others in your area through volunteering, events, or community projects.
TLC has a variety of events you can get involved in to meet new people and learn more about North Carolina’s natural areas. Becoming a TLC volunteer is also a great option and you can help lead hikes, perform office tasks, and prepare Williamson Preserve for its grand opening in April.
When you get involved, you feel more connected to your neighborhood and community. You can also help to work toward the protection of natural areas that will benefit your community for a long time.
Nature preserves are vital for maintaining biodiversity in our ever-changing landscapes. Human activity has converted a lot of land for housing developments, agriculture, deforestation, and more. When forests are cut down or prairies are removed to make way for development, most of the biodiversity in that area is lost.
TLC is dedicated to maintaining the delicate ecosystems found within their nature preserves so these beautiful natural areas will be available for generations to come.
Improves air quality
Trees sequester (or remove) carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and release oxygen. This process is extremely important for improving the quality of the air we breathe. Trees are also capable of removing other gaseous pollutants from the air. Many of these pollutants are released from the burning of coal, automotive exhaust, industrial fumes, and other emissions.
The TLC nature preserves ensure local forestry will be left intact and safe from development for years to come. Future generations will benefit from the clean air these protected trees provide.
Brings value to life
Green spaces are vital not only for a healthy planet but also for our wellbeing. Nature provides an abundance of value from relaxing meditation spots to cleaning our air and filtering our water.
TLC strives to safeguard clean water, protect natural habitats, support local farms and food, and connect people with nature through land protection and stewardship. That’s why we are asking you to show some love to your local green spaces this Valentine’s Day and take a trip out to one of our preserves.
Tag TLC on Instagram to share your experiences with us and share how you’re showing your love of nature this year!