It seems we’re all doing more with less. As the world slows and each of us is forced to make changes to help tackle COVID-19, opportunities arise to try new activities we may lacked time for previously.
For some, social distancing has freed up the time to tackle those tricky house renovations, try their hand at watercolours, or bake their first upside-down cake. Those of us who love the great outdoors also have plenty of activities to inspire and enjoy.
It’s so easy now to hone identification skills – learn the names of the animals and plants around us. Just whip out your phone or tablet and download and app or two. Would be twitchers have Michael Morcombe’s E-guide to Birds of Australia to help them distinguish green catbirds from satin bowerbirds – turns out, it’s all in the eye colour.
In no time at all you’ll hear the difference between calls by striped marsh frogs and bleating tree frogs, thanks to the Australian Museum’s Frog ID app. Indeed thanks to this app, a Catalina family recently discovered a wayward cane toad near the bottom of their garden – soon captured and laid to rest!
Let’s not forget our younger folk. The Junior Landcare Learning Centre offers step-by-step 30 minute activities, aligned with the school curriculum. With topics like ‘buzz on bees’ and ‘creating a food garden’ these are likely to be a hit with older folk as well. Find these activities and more at https://juniorlandcare.org.au/learningcentre/.
Online working and learning is fun, but it’s always good to step outside to break up your day and boost your mood. Sometimes the simple pleasures – like some sun on your skin or a spot of cloud-watching – make all the difference. But why stop there? Getting active in the garden is good for mind, body and soul – that’s a scientific fact. Here’s some easy projects to get you started:
Start a compost pile to reduce food waste and create your very own rich fertiliser to use around your garden
Learn to identify exotic plants that may actually be environmental weeds. You can’t go past Council’s weedfinder to help hone your ID skills. Plus it has advice on controlling invasive species - https://www.erbg.org.au/education-in-the-botanic-gardens/identify-your-weed/weed-finder/
Installing a bird bath gives feathered friends a much needed water source and brings them closer. It’s amazing how confiding they can be – perfect for you to practice your ID skills, or perhaps have a go at painting or photographing them
Get your hands dirty; digging, sowing seeds, planting, watering and weeding. Even a few pot-plants on the balcony can bring needed physical and mental health benefits.
Where it’s possible to maintain social distancing, why not explore the great bike tracks, bushwalking trails or beaches Eurobodalla is famous for? These are the perfect ‘at home’ excursions for kids, with exercise and learning opportunities. For example, collecting beach litter helps the environment but also provides useful information so that organisations like Tangaroa Blue can trace waste to its source and prevent it in the future? All you have to do is download an app to your phone, https://www.tangaroablue.org/resources/clean-up-data-collection/amdi-app/.
There is a lot to be learned from this period of slowing down. Spending some quality time at our places of home offer us the chance to reconnect and create positive change for ourselves and our local environment. Be sure to keep an eye on Eurobodalla Council’s Facebook page where the sustainability team will be posting more environment-centred activities over coming months.
Above Practicing pandemic restrictions while exploring Eurobodalla’s bush trails can bring unexpected surprises for young hikers.