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Connect with Nature from Home

During these challenging times, you might be looking for ways to help reduce stress and lift the spirits. Or maybe you're seeking online activities for restless kiddos!

A growing body of evidence has found that we receive many mental and physical benefits from time spent in nature. And that doesn't mean far away from home. Simply sitting in your backyard and listening to birds can reap calming effects. Research has also shown that looking at nature photos and listening to the sounds of nature can have similar impacts on body and mind.

For instant relaxation, check out Texas Parks and Wildlife's Postcard from Texas series, starting with Coastal Prairie Morning. Access all of them here.

In hopes that we can help lift your spirits, several of our Texas coalition members have shared opportunities for connecting, and learning about nature from home, or in ways that can be done while following safe social distancing guidelines. Check them out below -- we hope you enjoy them!

National Wildlife Federation has made all of it's online educational curriculum and Ranger Rick activities open-access:

The Texas Wildlife Association is offering free K-8 resources. You can get more information and direct links here

The Citizen's Environmental Coalition has shared the website that has a collection of environmental curricula and resources. The target audience is educators, but much of it can be adapted to a home school situation (or any curious person).

The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory has online courses about birds, birding, research, and more. They hope that during this troubling time, kids will get some enjoyment out of learning about birds and becoming wildlife ambassadors. There are courses for all ages and everything is free here.

The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance is offering their Inner View of the Edwards Aquifer DVD. It is a series of 5 lessons with lab exercises for children 8 through 16. Free download here

Visit Katy Prairie Conservancy's Matt Cook Memorial Wildlife Viewing Platform. A short walk through the Shrike Prairie leads you to a two-story structure overlooking the 140-acre Warren Lake, which teems with wildlife year-round. The ADA-accessible platform is open to all ages 365 days a year from 7 a.m. to dusk. For maps and directions, click here. Please follow social distancing guidelines and stay 6 ft from others. 

Calling photographers of all age and skill levels for the Hill Country Alliance Photo Contest. This year’s theme is “The Wild and Wonderful Texas Hill Country” and is running now through May 31.  Through the photo contest, we ask photographers to share images of the Hill Country they want to capture and protect forever. For more information and to submit photos go here.

Check out the Wilderness Passport programwhich provides information on getting outdoors in Houston's diverse ecoregions, and includes information on educational pathways in careers in conservation. Download your passport here.

Learn about the Texas Monarch Flyway Strategya statewide effort to restore, increase and enhance Monarch habitat across four major regions in the state - all of which serve as critical links in the Monarch butterfly's journey. Access a Step by Step Guide to Pollinator Habitat which includes planting tips and detailed information. 

Postcard from Texas -- Coastal Prairie Morning

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