by Kristin Stratman
The weather is getting colder – and somehow, life seems busier than it did before we had to fear catching or spreading a deadly virus. But no matter how chilly the weather is or how busy your schedule gets, it can help to squeeze in some routine time outdoors.
I spoke with Robin Green, a naturalist at the Clermont County Parks District, about the importance of developing a relationship with nature. “It’s really easy to get busy in your life and lose that connection to nature even though, at least in Clermont County, it’s a little easier to ﬁnd nature,” said Green, “A lot of people can just go out in their yard and ﬁnd nature pretty easily.”
Time spent in nature can help prevent or even resolve certain health issues. The 2020 Community Health Assessment released by Clermont County Public Health shows that cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity are all public health concerns in Clermont County. A survey described in the report also showed that around a quarter of respondents in the county felt down, depressed, or hopeless and almost a third had symptoms of anxiety. All of these health problems might be alleviated by spending time outside.
In the current pandemic, many of our usual activities, like eating out at restaurants and going to movie theatres, are frowned upon. Spending time outdoors is both healthy and socially-responsible. And you don’t need to go far to get your nature ﬁx: Clermont County is home to more than sixty greenspaces, parks, and nature preserves. Call up a friend to go on a socially-distanced nature hike or get a head start on your New Year’s ﬁtness resolution. Green also suggests ﬁnding a “sit spot”, an outdoor location where you return to and observe your surroundings for a set period of time, when you need some peace in your life.
“What I ﬁnd is you get really meditative,” says Green, “you start noticing things about nature and feeling connected just spending that short time in that spot.” No matter how you decide to bring nature into your life, your body and mind will thank you.
Kristin Stratman, a freelance journalist and Clermont County native, is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Biology through Miami University’s Project Dragonﬂy Program.