30×30 Nature Challenge

By Melanie Stewart


You may not have heard of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), but you’ve probably heard of LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification for buildings, which is the credentialing the USGBC provides for building construction.  Here, we are covered by the USGBC Nebraska Flatwater Chapter.

The USGBC understands that the built environment is important, but it envisions “buildings and communities that will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation.”  Essentially, the built environment needs to work with nature instead of against it, or by dominating it.  Working against nature can negatively affect our health and overall wellbeing.

The USGBC is asking everybody to spend 30 minutes outside in nature for the 30 days in June, hence the 30×30 challenge.  That can’t be hard, right?  Just 30 minutes of your day outside?  You can take the dog for a walk, read in the shade of a tree, spend time in the garden, explore a new walking path, take the kids to a park and/or admire the sights, sounds and smells from anyplace—just get outside!

Benefits to you include:

  • Decreased stress
  • Exercise
  • Stronger relationships
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces fatigue and helps children focus and control impulses
  • Greater productivity, at home and work
  • Increased satisfaction
  • Improved memory, problem solving, creativity, and attention span
  • Building community/camaraderie among neighbors
  • Have a heightened sense of well-being

You can do this before work, on your lunch or break, or after work. Don’t forget that some of your favorite places are different in the dark, and that’s worth exploring too.

Like trees?  Studies show heading to a forest can have additional benefits, and Fontenelle Forest is a great local attraction, (and they have Nature Discovery Day Camps for kids!).

After your 30 days are up, take stock of how you feel (bonus points for keeping a journal along the way).  What benefits have you observed in your own life?  Do you take a walk at lunch and find that you get more done in the afternoon?  Did you have more or deeper conversations with your kids?  Did your overall stress diminish?  Maybe you lost a few pounds?  Is your dog less destructive indoors?

Whatever it is, everybody will benefit from the 30×30 challenge.  So what are you waiting for?

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