By Fort Belvoir Environmental Division
With the arrival of summer, there is no better time to get reconnected and strengthen our bond with the beautiful outdoors. Whether it’s getting out on the water, hiking new trails, or enjoying a picnic outside this summer, take time to add a new way to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy while keeping the environment in mind.
As we settle into this summer season, here are some helpful tips you and your loved ones can do to enjoy the outdoors with an environmentally friendly mind:
Remember to carry a reusable bottle or cup instead of using plastic, paper, or other disposable bottles/cups, as these harm our planet and our many wetland species, including turtles!
Keep a Green Thumb
Love to garden? This summer use native plants that can create habitat for wildlife and reduce water usage. A mix of native shrubs, grasses and flowers, along with bat boxes and other wildlife structures, while avoiding pesticides and bug zappers make for great wildlife friendly yards, creating biodiversity hotspots of cool and beautiful critters.
BBQ for the Planet
Enjoy every single food on your menu this summer while serving up the healthiest pieces to the environment. By using reusable or biodegradable plates, utensils, and napkins instead of paper or plastic, you can reduce your waste and protect our planet. When grilling, use electric grills or gas/propane grills which burn more efficiently and cleaner than charcoal or wood.
Charge with the Summer Sun
If you are going camping or heading to the beach, pack a USB solar charger or solar backpack to recharge any portable devices. Batteries can be a thing of the past if you use the sun as your fuel.
Have no plans for the summer? Not sure where to start? Find local activities in or around Fort Belvoir with low environmental impacts. Local parks, zoos, beaches, or music and art venues are all ready to have you over this summer. Check out what is happening within individual Counties and neighborhoods throughout Northern Virginia and beyond!
Share Your Memories
While you are enjoying the outdoors and creating memories, share pictures of your adventures and of you taking care of the environment and surrounding communities on social media. Using hashtags such as #saynotolitter, #conservation, #wildlife, #takecareofourplanet, and more shows how taking care of the planet truly can be done from anywhere. These photos can in turn inspire and excite others to join in the effort to keep an environmentally friendly mind and see the benefits of helping the natural world.
New research has found that 120 minutes in nature a week (just 2 hours!) is all it takes to increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. So get on out there and explore the world and all the tiny and grand beautiful things it has to offer. But remember to keep the environment in mind!