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31 Ways to Explore the Marvels of Nature Each Day in August

Posted on July 28, 2021 at 6:00 am

BY ABRA COLE

Summer is winding down, and August may just be our last chance to get outdoors and explore before the season turns to autumn.

Since factors such as extreme hot weather and smoke may affect actual outdoor plans, I’ve compiled a variety of potential activities that fit different weather situations. Think you can’t explore nature from your couch? Think again!

JUMP START YOUR EXPLORATION

  1. First stop at your local library. Head towards the shelves for section 796.51 to see what local hiking books we have available. Or ask at the desk for a local favorite outdoor recommendation. This is also a good time to ask if we have a Discover Pass for parking at Washington State Parks available for checkout! If you can’t make it into the library, you’ll find great titles about the outdoors on these OverDrive booklists Out & About in the PNW and The Great Outdoors.
  2. Go to a park. Our region is covered in parks of all shapes and sizes. If your family is anything like mine, you’ll want to head for one of the parks that will satisfy all: ample hiking trails, maybe some water access, and of course a playground (mandatory!).
  3. Take yourself on a bike ride.
  4. Grab a blanket, and head to the park. Turn your phone off, relax back, and notice what you can see, hear, smell, feel (and taste?). Here’s a book to find inspiration: How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature.
  5. Plant a pollinator garden where your lawn used to be.
  6. Download the iNaturalist app and start cataloging your nature discoveries!
  7. Make use of shared information on the falling fruit urban harvest map to harvest some apples, pears, or plums from a neighbor.
  8. Build a pollinator house to invite bees and other pollinators into your garden.
  9. Start your own Junior Master Gardener group. Learn more at the website.
  10. Get inspired by the National Park Service’s Nature Photo Scavenger Hunt prompts.
  11. Collect and press flowers into a book. Find inspiration from the book Washington’s Best Wildflower Hikes.
  12. Lay back and do a little cloud watching.
  13. Grow a small window garden of herbs. You will thank me when you have a taste of fresh cilantro or basil on your next homemade dish.
  14. Start a nature journal. Keep track of anything and everything that interests you as you explore, hike, sit, and observe! Find tips to get started in The Outdoor Scientist: The Wonder of Observing the Natural World.

EXPLORE FROM THE COUCH

  1. Learn about the geology of Spokane by visiting a local virtual geology tour.
  2. Did you know Netflix has a YouTube channel? View full episodes of the documentary Our Planet.
  3. Browse through the National Park Service’s Outdoor Science webpage.
  4. Head over to this virtual wind simulator website to get lost in the wind patterns all over our planet.
  5. Try your hand at GeoGuessr, the game where you are virtually “dropped” somewhere in the world and have to explore via Google maps to try to identify your location!

EXPLORE NEARBY PLACES

  1. Visit the Washington State Parks website to check out all the excellent state parks. Narrow your search by location, or needs, and then go forth and explore. Explore walking and hiking adventures near county libraries shared by fellow blogger Caitlin for south and north county locations.
  2. Go camping. You don’t have to go far, even your backyard will bring new perspective. There are several inexpensive or free campgrounds not far from town. Check out this list of local campgrounds from PlanetWare.
  3. Watch the birds (and maybe other wildlife) at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge. Or in your own backyard! Want to learn more about bird song? Pick up a copy of Crow Not Crow to learn how to play a simple bird identification game. You can listen to specific bird songs on The Cornell Lab K-12 education website.
  4. Head to Green Bluff to pick fruit. The webpage lists everything that is currently ripe for the picking.
  5. Place a coat hanger on the dirt or in the grass and make a list of all the things you notice inside that small space.
  6. Head for one of the many lakes in our region. Dip your toes in the water, watch the fish, and kick back.

EXPLORE PLACES SLIGHTLY FARTHER AWAY (50-100 MILES)

  1. Enjoy a scenic drive down into the Palouse. You can stop at Steptoe Butte State Park Heritage Site and Palouse Falls State Park along the way.
  2. Take in the view at Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.
  3. Steamboat Rock State Park has both hiking and camping opportunities.

EXPLORE EVEN FARTHER PLACES (100+ MILES)

  1. Visit one of our state’s National Parks such as North Cascades, Mount Rainier, or Olympic. Mount St. Helens is a National Monument also worth exploring.
  2. Looking for adventure? You can apply to become a Glacier National Park Artist-in-Residence!
  3. Catch the traveling bug, and go see the world! Check out the book The Gentle Art of Tramping to get started.

See you soon, maybe in the library, or perhaps out on a trail!

Abra Cole

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