We recently sat down with Mark Fowler, Grace Farms Foundation’s former Nature Initiative Director, for tips on how to engage with nature during the winter months. His advice—bundle up, take the necessary winter weather precautions, and get outside to encounter elements of nature you wouldn’t otherwise.
Grace Farms’ 80 acres offers a whole new landscape for learning about nature in winter. During the month of February, Grace Farms will host a variety of local experts to engage participants in educational guided experiences specific to the colder climates:
- Justin Pegnataro, Executive Director of the Two Coyotes Wilderness School in Connecticut, will lead an educational winter outing focused on how to detect and identify wild animal tracks.
- Yale School of Forestry graduate Nick Olson will host a winter ecology walk exploring how nature and wildlife survive throughout the winter.
- Tim Haag, an astronomer from NCHS Planetarium, will educate participants about the phases of the moon, specifically the full snow moon, which only appears in February.
- Outdoor photographer Anthony Rodriguez will highlight the specific kinds of beauty apparent in nature during the colder months of the year during our winter photography walk. Be sure to bring your camera!
“We want to provide people with experiences that inspire them and change the way they think and interact with nature,” said Fowler. “This type of education is possible in small intimate groups, in which guest experts and visitors alike can connect, discover, and engage with the wonders of the natural world.”
Interacting with nature in all climates is connected to a larger goal intrinsic to Grace Farms Foundation’s Nature Initiative: to preserve, restore, and explore the natural world, cultivating a greater level of respect for nature. The thinking behind this approach is that the more we engage with and are educated about nature, the less likely we will be to have a hand in destroying it. According to the US Forest Service, we lose 6,000 acres of open space every day to development, which contributes to the number one threat to wildlife species—habitat loss. The US Endangered list has grown from containing 78 species when it came out 50 years ago, to 1,448 species today, and the majority of that loss is caused by our lack of understanding about how to preserve and coexist with the land and its inhabitants. We have the power to shift this trend.
As ambassadors of the natural world, Grace Farms Foundation is passionate about helping people co-exist with nature. We want people to ask questions and engage in a way that keeps them excited about preserving our Earth, with the ultimate goal of inspiring visitors to become nature ambassadors in their own communities as well.
Photo: © Vanessa Van Ryzin