Nature, Wildlife & Well-Being

Photo Source: Maria C Dawson: Stupefied “Connection”

Last week I found a squirrel with a broken back leg on our porch. I was able to (hopefully) save it by taking it to an emergency rescue location near our home. It made me a bit stressed and then a bit hopefully (emotional wellness roller coaster). Since this experience I have been thinking about nature, wildlife, and wellness. 

Personal well-being is a primary focus of Blooms to Blossoms.  One aspect of wellness that I have not discussed yet is environmental wellness.  Environmental wellness includes an awareness of surrounding environment and community and the ability to live in harmony.  Attention on individual well-being leads to a consideration of what is important and beneficial to our personal lives, but it must include what is beneficial to society.

In my May 20 blog, I shared my intent (purpose) to build a community to discuss the meaning of an integrated life. Together, our effort will result in the creation of a well-being legacy to live and to pass on to others. I concluded the blog by asking the question:

How can we live and share our personal well-being legacy?

Our personal well-being legacy has a broader scope reaching beyond ourselves to the larger community.  How do we care for ourselves, others, nature, and wildlife?

University of Minnesota Taking Charge of Your Health and Well-Being Blog series titled Nature and Us explores how nature can impact well-being.

The 4-part series includes:

How Does Nature Impact Our Well-being?
**Nature Heals…decreases stress/anxiety, increases pleasant feelings
**Nature Soothes…trees, plants, openness of outdoors mitigates pain
**Nature Restores…time in nature enhances vitality and mood
**Nature Connects…encourages support person to person and person to the larger world

Enhance Your Well-being in Nature
**Encourages “getting outside”…if nothing more than the breath fresh air and give your mind a break.

Bring Nature Indoors
**Shares ways to “bring small doses of nature into your home” to enhance well-being.

Nuture Nature
**Discusses the influence animals and pets can have on personal wellness.

Brittnei Miller also shares insights about nature and us in her August 2018 blog Why Should You Care (WSYC). She states, “I believe that positive self-care will generate additional positive feelings throughout our lives.  We generally feel more likely to take pride in the world around us (people and animals) when we are also taking care of ourselves.”

Bringing nature and wildlife together as an influencer for wellness, a 2017 WSYC blog post summarizes a 2011 research study published in Tourism Management by Ballantyne, Packer, and Sutherland titled Visitors’ Memories of Wildlife Tourism: Implications for the design of powerful interpretive experiences.

Four main categories emerged:

Much of our neighborhood and our house backs up to a conservation area. Over the past several years I’ve had many encounters with wildlife. Below are 3 collages of pictures I’ve saved.

Pieces of life weaves together in many ways. My blog on July 15, Run for My Body, Run for My Soul , shared my perspective of a lifetime of running. Thinking about the above comments from Miller’s and U of MN blogs another aspect of my running is more clear. I enjoy being outside. Interesting that when I think about places I’ve lived I can still envision my favorite running routes. Most of my runs were alone and with my surroundings.

The level of engagement I have had with the animals visiting my yard is varied and touch on all aspects summarized in the 2011 Memories of Wildlife study.

**I was able to “pet” the calves before Farmer John herded them back home.
**Catching lizards and frogs in the house is a ‘game’ my cats enjoy.
**Being able to watch the bird we rescued fly off into a sanctuary area was fulfilling.
**Providing a nesting blanket and watching the squirrel ‘tuck’ himself in for the ride to the animal rescue location was a bit emotional…felt sorry for the squirrel but happy I was helping.
**Observing ‘mom deer’ jump my fence and retrieve her baby was amazing.

Note about deer: beautiful animals and I enjoy seeing them, however, it would be nice if they would quit eating my landscaping. :- )

Raccoon looking in my office window, Cows broke free from neighboring farm & are heading toward our front yard, ducks and gator on our pond, and sand cranes visiting the front yard.
My recent squirrel rescue, a bird released after rehab (neighbor and I saved), mom deer retrieving baby from backyard after baby napped in my flowers, owl (same neighbor and I) released from a pool enclosure
Osprey maintains residence in wooded area behind our pond, catch and release (thanks to my cats) of a lizard (green anole), catch and release of a frog (thanks to my cat), herd of deer passing through, turtle heading for our pond

I hope you enjoy some of my experiences….I hope you enjoy the video below. Please share a story or two with our readers.

A healthy, diverse and vibrant natural world is essential to human health, happiness and wellbeing.