Show Mother Nature Some Love – Give Back to Nature!

(This guest post is authored by Melissa Daruna of Get Outdoors Colorado)

This season is often focused on giving and being thankful for the ones we love. We encourage you to also remember to be thankful for the outdoor places and spaces you love. Coloradoans are extremely fortunate to have such a beautiful backyard to play and explore in. Here are 5 great ways to practice gratitude by giving back to nature:
  1. Buy a Colorado State Parks Pass. An Annual Parks Pass gets you 12 months of unlimited access to all of Colorado’s State Parks. With amazing access to family camping, hiking, fishing, and more exploring than your boots will know what to do with, this pass is also a great gift idea. By supporting Colorado Parks and Wildlife, you are helping keep the lands we love protected and public.
  2. Go cut down your own Christmas tree! For many families, this is a long-held tradition. The US Forest Service grants permits each year to cut down a tree on National Forest land. Now, cutting down a tree might sound counter-intuitive to protecting nature but this program actually helps manage the land and proceeds go to the USFS.
  3. Plant a tree in someone’s name. If you’d feel better planting a tree rather than cutting one down, the US Forest Service has a host of programs and partners that offer opportunities to plant a tree to honor someone to just contribute to forests that need help. Another great gift idea for nature lovers!
  4. Sponsor an outdoor activity. Many families opt to sponsor a child or another family for the holidays. Try focusing the gifts on items that will help families get their children outdoors more – proper cold weather gear, hiking boots or poles, a day pack, trail maps or even a bike helmet. Consider connecting with a family or elderly person in your neighborhood that does not get outdoors as much do something simple like go on a walk or visit your local open space together to share some time in nature.
  5. Volunteer. Our amazing outdoors need us now more than ever. Colorado’s population is growing and that can have a huge impact on our favorite outdoor places. Dedicate some time and give back to mother nature. Do you have family visiting this holiday season? What better way to show them a true Colorado experience than by helping build a trail, prep a community garden or work on developing open space. You can search for volunteer opportunities in your area at GetOutdoorsColorado.orgor with our partner, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.
Remember, time spent outdoors is time well spent on your health too. Practicing gratitude for you favorite park or trail can also come in the form of just remembering to get out and explore.