Being out in nature is always good for our physical and mental health. While we are somewhat restricted at this time it’s still important to make some time to get outside to exercise, play and engage with the world around us.
How does nature contribute to wellbeing? Watch the Lynda.com video on Nature as the Source of Happiness to find out!
Nature is a great way to boost your wellbeing, and here are a few ways to practice noticing nature.
What better way to enjoy the great outdoors and learn more about nature than through bird watching? Get into the backyard with the kids and see what you can find.
Birds in Backyards Australia have this great identification chart.
Local twitchers Cindy and Michael have created a free and easy-to-use guide to Melbourne's birds, MelBirds - perfect for kids.
Or you even add your bird findings at Bird Data's website and app.
Exercise & Exploration
Exercise is always important and what better time to walk or cycle in your local area.
Explore these sites that can help you check out the park and cycling tracks that are close to home for you.
- Banyule Parks and Reserves
- Bike Paths - a Melbourne-wide map of major cycling routes
- City of Whittlesea Walking Maps
- City of Whittlesea Parks
- Heidelberg Artists' Trail - discover historic locations frequented by artists of the Heidelberg School
- Nillumbik Shire Parks and Reserves
- Yarra Valley Walk Cycle
- Walking Maps - Warringal Parklands, but also possible to use the app to search for walks near you
Find more walking resources here, including great reads for keeping active.
Children love nothing more than the opportunity to get outside and play in nature, whether it be collecting sticks and leaves or making mud pies there are so many fun things to get “playing” in your own backyard. Here’s just a few:
- Create mini nature zones with sticks, dirt and animal figurines
- Take art supplies outside for drawing nature
- Plant winter veggies
- Collect leaves
- Press flowers
- Make your own potpourri
- Or check more great ideas for nature play.
Discover more about nature play on the ABC parenting podcast Parental As Anything, where host Maggie Dent talks to nature play experts Gillian McAuliffe and Daniel Burton about the perfect places for growing bodies and minds to play.
Become a Citizen Scientist
Get involved in helping scientists better understand our native wildlife with the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub. You can record sightings of bell frogs, beneficial insects and flying foxes and see a map of where other citizen scientists have recorded sightings in your area.
Enter your daily nature sightings via Questagame. Find an interesting bird, insect, reptile, plant, fungi - any living thing that's wild. You can upload photos and earn bonus points by correctly identifying your sighting and by adding field notes. You can have fun, earning gold, increasing your species collection and moving up the leaderboard. It eve has an Augmented Reality mode!
Art & Nature
The National Gallery Victoria is currently closed but there are online resources you can enjoy, such as flower-related art projects.
Stories & Nature
Discover Isabella's Garden on Storybox. Told soothingly by Maddie Thiele, Isabella's adventure is sure to awaken curiosity in the natural world.
Dive into Graeme Base's classic Animalia - brought to life digitally.
Kanopy has some great films and documentaries focussing on nature including this series narrated by Liam Neeson: Love Thy Nature.
YPRL resources busythings, Kanopy, Storybox and Animalia are free with your library card. Not a member? Join instantly online now.
Noticing Nature developed by Diamond Valley Library.