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How to Notice Nature This Summer


It’s officially summer and that means warmer days, vacations and outdoor adventures. It’s also a perfect time to up your skills as a Citizen Scientist and use your extra time outside to observe and document nature. After all, there are so many fascinating plants and animals to discover and appreciate in pretty much all the places you’re likely to find yourself over the next few months.

Summer Picnic

Photo by Ben Duchac

We’ve compiled some easy tips on how you can take notice of nature while enjoying your regularly planned summer activities. From the beach to a theme park, here are some really fun ways you can enjoy little bits of nature this summer…

How to Notice Nature at the Beach

A trip to the beach is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable activities for people of all ages. It’s also one of the best places to observe unique animals and learn about shoreline ecosystems. Depending on your locale, you can spot larger aquatic animals like dolphins, all the way down to the smallest of sand crabs during an afternoon visit to the shore.

Notice Nature on a Picnic

Picnics and outdoor barbeques are the perfect places to document some of the natural flora and fauna of your local park or neighborhood. Adding a scavenger-hunt style activity of noting the nature around your picnic blanket can add a fun element to this favorite outdoor activity. Try it out this 4th of July with family and friends!

Notice Nature on a Roadtrip

You may not think that a road trip lends itself to appreciating nature, but in fact, traveling the countryside is a great opportunity to take stock of different landscapes, and the variations in geology and plant life along the way. With just a few tools and a sharp eye, you can document small natural wonders from the road.

Notice Nature at a Theme Park

This tip is admittedly the most challenging, but since theme parks are among the top summertime family activities in the US, we figured it was worth mentioning. Finding nature within a theme park can add a fun dimension to your visit and perhaps allow you to notice details within the park you may have missed otherwise.

Notice nature While Camping

This final collection of tips is kind of a no-brainer. After all, what is camping but getting out into nature? But we encourage you to make the most of your summer camping trip by adding some citizen science elements to your agenda. Testing water pollution and reporting plants and animals you see can contribute to important scientific research, all while enjoying yourself in the great outdoors.

For more official Citizen Science projects you can incorporate into your summer plans, check out this filtered list of activities on SciStarter. And enjoy a summer filled with nature!