Nature activities to enjoy at home
Explore nature without leaving your yard (or apartment)
If you’re stuck at home and itching to enjoy the great outdoors, fear not. There are lots of ways you can enjoy nature and learn something new without leaving your home or yard. Keep in touch with us to show how you’re exploring nature from home on Facebook and Instagram.
Steward nature in your own yard
If you have a yard, there’s a chance you have invasive plants. But if you haven’t learned how to identify them, how would you know? Monroe County IRIS (Identify and Remove Invasive Species) has a great list of the top 10 invasive plants in the area and how to spot them. You can help native birds, insects, mammals, and other organisms by removing harmful invasive plants and landscaping with native plants! For tips and ideas, visit our Plant Natives page.
A monarch butterfly on common milkweed, a wonderful native plant that supports wildlife, at the southern Indiana home of Steve Gifford
Cook with wild plants
If you have a yard, and you’re comfortable identifying wild plants, check out these recipes for drinks you can make this spring:
Watch Indiana nature documentaries
Learn more about our state’s natural history, ecology, and parks with these documentaries that are free to stream:
- Goose Pond: The story of a wetland and its neighbors
- Indiana’s Wild Landscape
- The Natural Heritage of Indiana: PBS series
- Origins: The Richard Lieber story and the founding of Indiana State Parks
Snow geese at Goose Pond Fish & Wildlife Area, for which Sycamore helped fund the purchase with other conservation groups
Dive into a new subject
Dig deep into something you’ve always wanted to learn more about. This is the perfect time to pick up a good book (or e-book; your local library might have free rentals), curl up on the couch or front porch, and read up on a topic that fascinates you. Here are some books we recommend:
- The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle
- 101 Trees of Indiana
- Planting Native to Attract Birds to Your Yard, by Sharon Sorenson
- Planet of the Bugs by Scott Richard Shaw
- The Sibley Birds Coloring Field Journal by David Allen Sibley
Explore your backyard
My three-year-old niece calls every walk a nature walk, and when I see how observant she becomes outside, I understand why. Little Hannah gets up close with every pinecone, acorn, blade of grass, and tree we pass. Try taking a walk like a curious kid and see how many things you can identify, how many are unfamiliar to you, and how many are just plain beautiful. Roll over a log or turn up a stone to see what’s living underneath. When you get home, look them up and write them down so you remember for next time. Whether you live on a busy street or a quiet neighborhood, nature will probably be peeking through in ways big or small.
Hannah leads a pre-Christmas nature walk through her grandparents’ backyard in Indianapolis.