March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. The official first day of Spring is March 20th, and with the help of Daylight savings time our days extend well past when we get home from work. Trees are bursting out green leaves, flowers are blooming and soon I won’t have to wear two pairs of pants at night just to walk my dog.
Spring is a perfect time to reignite your connection with nature. In his book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv, coined a term “nature deficit disorder” to describe that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems. We lack a relationship with our environment and all things that come from it. To reconnect with nature you don’t have to go on a week long backpacking trip to Alaska, it can be a few hours close to home or in your own backyard. This Spring, before it gets raging hot, take the opportunity to reconnect with nature here locally in our big backyard of Dallas.
Here are my top five ways to embrace Spring in the city, reignite your connection to and be inspired by our natural world.
5. Take a stroll at one of the local plant nurseries. My favorite is Ruibal’s Plants of Texas in downtown Dallas is full of vivid colors, unique clay pots and friendly staff. Be inspired to start small and pick up some seeds, potting soil and a few small pots. Gardening doesn’t have to be a huge project in your backyard, it can start small with some basil, cilantro and other herbs to add some fresh flavor to your cooking. Growing food at home is a small way you can reduce your impact on the planet.
4. While your downtown visiting the local nursery you might as well wonder across the street to the Farmers Market. The Dallas Farmers Market is beginning to vet vendors to make sure their products are actually from local farmers. On my last visit I picked up Texas tomatoes, grapefruits (which by the way right now are amazing), and home grown free range organic eggs. Feel good about your purchases and put good food in your body. Buying local keeps shipping pollution and energy usage low.
3.While we are on the food kick, we all need a break from cooking at home, and when you decide to step out, support restaurants actively purchasing sustainable food. The restaurant Start, on Greenville serves up “real food fast” specializes in healthy food utilizing whole organic foods. Whatever you order from a grass fed burger to juice, watch as their staff fires up the juicer to make it fresh in front of you. Wherever you eat, ask or research where their food comes from. The more informed you are the better decisions you can make.
2. Get out for a hike in the city. Take a look on the City of Dallas Parks and Recreation interactive map of parks at dallasparks.org. There are parks everywhere. My secret spot is the backside of Harry Moss Park. Park on the side of road at Arborside Road and explore the windy trails through thick forest mixed with open fields. Or try out the secret spot I haven’t made it to yet, Dragon Park. Located at 3520 Cedar Springs Road, I hear it’s a small green hidden unique park with gargoyles, angels, fairys, and dragon statues. A perfect small park for a lunch picnic.
1. Let the intricate weaving of a spider web or precise honeycomb of a bee hive inspire your work. Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that studies nature’s models and then uses these designs and processes to solve human problems, create products and policies. It is basically copying mother nature to improve our efficiency or enhance our lives. Popular examples are swim suits designed for speed based off of overlapping shark scales, low energy heating and cooling buildings designed using termite mound structure, and velcro came from inspiration from seed burrs. Take the time to be present and look for nature in unexpected places, it could very well be that creative push you need.
As seen in the Katy Trail Weekly.