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Freeport, ME, November 24, 2021

If it seems like everyone has been enjoying time outdoors, it’s not your imagination. This past summer, people flocked to our national parks in record numbers. Why? There’s an obvious explanation in our current environment – the outdoors is among the safest options for gathering amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But the outdoors also affords us something else – lower anxiety, stress and depression. More positive moods. Less of the things we don’t want and more of the things we do.

During this time of thanks, how can we show our gratitude toward nature for all that it’s given to us, especially in recent years and months? For starters, consider volunteering your time to clean up a National Park in your area, as the record number of people enjoying the outdoors has also had some negative consequences – namely, litter. Your local park could also use some love, but there are smaller ways to show your gratitude at home, as well.

If you have little ones, fostering an appreciation for the outdoors at a young age can not only have emotional and developmental benefits, but it can also nurture a future generation of environmental stewards. Consider planting bulbs for next season to attract and protect our pollinators – this is a great family activity that teaches little ones (or others!) many things, from locomotor skills to what is needed to foster new life.

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