It’s been a hard month since I’ve last written. We are now – and have been – in a time of social distancing, staying at home and being asked to wear masks when we go out in order to protect others in case we are carrying the coronavirus. Everything has been canceled, schools and other venues closed.
What to do? Where to go? Now is also a time when the restorative benefits of spending time in nature are ever more obvious. Feeling stressed? Antsy? Anxious? Depressed? All of these feelings can be eased by spending time outdoors.
The American Heart Association has a great post that talks about this at shawurl.com/3d0o. And the benefits are related to just being in nature, so don’t feel like you have to get out and walk or run a mile, or ride a bike for an hour. Sitting in your garden or a local park for even 15 minutes listening to the birds, watching the light and feeling the breeze will help. Other ideas are available at shawurl.com/3d0q.
I’ve done this several times in the past few weeks as warmer weather has enticed me. Seeing the bloodroot blooming in my own yard, I took a walk yesterday in Bliss Woods. It is a wonderful place to walk if you want to see spring wildflowers. Maramech Woods also is an Illinois Nature Preserve, and Kendall County is also blessed to have Silver Springs State Park at its literal fingertips. Plenty of nature here!
In fact, it is timely to again post the top nature walks in Kendall County submitted by you.
• Richard Young Forest Preserve: beautiful natural area trail, prairie and woodlands, bluffs, ravines, creek and overlooks.
• Lyon Forest Preserve: beautiful natural area woodland trail, ravines, creek, fens.
• Hoover Forest Preserve: variety of natural areas to enjoy and hike, including frontage on Fox River, woodlands, fens and prairie.
• Jay Woods Forest Preserve: prairie and woodlands, overlook of Little Rock Creek, large native trees, historic farm site/display.
• Hudson Crossing Park: Fox River and Waubonsie Creek frontage with pedestrian bridge and trail access.
• Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area: Fox River frontage lakes, scenic natural paths through woods and prairies. Scenic spring native flower shows.
• Baker Woods Forest Preserve: woods and prairie, frontage on top-rated Aux Sable Creek.
• Harris Forest Preserve: wooded trails, fishing ponds.
• Violet Patch Park: wooded park on Fox River.
• Maramech Forest Preserve: prairie and woodlands, unique natural area with spring flora.
• Fox River Trail: hiking and biking trail from Hudson Crossing Park to Kane County line.
• Millbrook South Forest Preserve: open prairie trail with access to wooded bluff along the Fox River.
Is one of these your nature favorite? Do you enjoy somewhere else? I hope you are spending time there and reaping the benefits. I hope this finds you and your family safe and healthy.
• Trish Beckjord is program manager of the Fox River Education and Outreach Initiative at The Conservation Foundation.