As the snow and ice begin to melt, the grass turns green and flowers begin to blossom. Those who don’t enjoy outdoor winter activities begin to venture outside again. The trails may be muddy but the sun is shining and the temperature is rising.
Spring began on March 20, which makes April the perfect time to celebrate and work to keep America’s natural beauty intact for future generations.
According to its website, Keep America Beautiful started in 1953. The main goal was to bring together the public and private sectors in New York City to promote a “national cleanliness ethic.”
Keep America Beautiful aims to educate and inspire people. Its hope is to lead individuals to take action to improve their communities.
Bailey Alves, a sophomore studying agronomy, enjoys spur-of-the-moment hiking. This activity helps her admire God’s creations, while also getting the positive benefits of being outdoors.
According to WebMD, hiking is a cardio workout with multiple benefits. A few include lowering the risk of heart disease, improving blood pressure, strengthening the core, improving balance and more.
WebMD also recommends a few adaptations to get a better workout from hiking. Things like using trekking poles, hiking hills or uneven terrain, adding extra weight and adjusting the speed can make hiking more strenuous and difficult, leading to a more intense workout.
Alves is careful to stay on designated trails, as this helps to leave things as they are without disturbing the natural areas.
According to the National Park Service website, venturing off the trail has the potential to damage or even kill some plants and animals. Leaving things like rocks and foliage is also important to practice while enjoying the outdoors.
Amber Johnson, a senior studying plant and wildlife ecology, enjoys the outdoors of Rexburg and Bone, Idaho. Her family has a cabin in Bone that’s one of her favorite places to explore.
“You can get away from everything,” Johnson said. “It’s just you and God’s creations and there are no expectations.”
Hiking to a beautiful waterfall or through a dense, quiet forest can be an uplifting and even spiritual experience. However, it isn’t uncommon for natural places to be littered with plastic bottles, wrappers, pistachio or sunflower shells, and aluminum cans.
Johnson may get made fun of by her siblings, but it isn’t uncommon for her to fill up her pockets with the trash that has littered the outdoors. This is something Alves wishes to add to her hiking too.
Johnson recommends staying informed of what is natural to a certain area. Cress Creek is a great example of a place aiming to inform. It has informational signs throughout the trails that explain the vegetation and other things natural to the area.
“We’re the public so we own those lands,” Johnson said. “They’re ours to enjoy. We’re supposed to enjoy them and learn about those things.”
Johnson made a goal to invite more people with her when she hikes. Leading by example and influencing others is important to her.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of people in Rexburg that don’t know about all of these places out here,” Johnson said.
Here are a few resources Johnson recommended for those wanting to get more involved and educated about the outdoors:
Cal’s Week in Review is a podcast that has 100 episodes. It is designed for people who want to stay up to date on what’s happening in the outdoor community and for people who want to “pretend” they know.
Bureau of Land Management manages public lands for multiple types of use. A few include livestock grazing, recreation and timber harvesting. It also manages more than 1/10 of the nation’s surface area. Its mission is to sustain and preserve these lands for this generation, and the ones to come.
The National Parks Service has a website that includes every national park in the United States. The website has different areas, depending on what a person is interested in learning about. You can also follow specific national parks on Instagram or Twitter.
Enjoy the outdoors this month and take some time to learn something new about your favorite place.