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FUNDINGSLAND: Time to step outdoors

I hope everyone who reads this is healthy and is treating social distancing with the seriousness it deserves. No one wants to catch or spread coronavirus identified by the Center for Disease Control as COVID-19.

What is understandably difficult and particularly trying, for many, staying at home. It may sound good at the outset but, with time, not so much. I, and I know many of you, don’t like being told to stay put.

There’s no arguing the fact that isolating yourself and your family or, at the very least, keeping six feet from others is a good defense against contracting COVID-19. Hopefully, the practice is instrumental in controlling the spread of the virus.

Now is the time, and the motivation should already be in place, to step into the outdoors. Literally. Being outside offers infinite opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, get back to nature and all the while adhering to the practice of social distancing.

Family bored at home? Why not try an outing at one of our State Parks. Their offices are closed to the public during this coronavirus pandemic, but there’s hiking trails just waiting to be used. You can pick a distance and terrain too, from a walk of short duration to a much longer trek.

You and your family members will have a chance to get away from television news, computers and the endless stream of coronavirus discussions and scares. Absolutely stay informed about COVID-19, but don’t let it overwhelm you.

By getting outdoors and taking a hike on one of the many trails available in our State Parks you’ll rediscover many things. Children will enjoy it too. You’ll experience sounds you haven’t heard for a while, birds and animals and a breeze passing through still barren tree branches. The sound of silence can be tremendously rewarding and memorable too.

No snow on the ground makes for easy walking. So, too, does short vegetation that has yet to come back to life after lying dormant all winter. Look carefully at the surrounding land and ground underfoot and you’ll see our outdoor opportunities, big and small, everywhere.

Many birds have been migrating into our state in recent days and weeks. Some will stay. Others will move on. Watch them. Listen to them. Study the habitat, from grasses to bushes to trees. Find pictures in the clouds. Feel the sunshine. Listen to ice-covered water break and crack. Watch the enthusiasm of others, young and old, who are enjoying the experience.

No need to rush. Walk down a hiking path at any pace you wish. It’s invigorating. Refreshing. Take pictures. Raise binoculars. All the while you’ll be doing your part to keep the spread of coronavirus at bay and, be assured, it’ll be an outing you and your family will remember forever.

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