I really like this new campaign by the US Forest Service and Ad Council: Every neighborhood has a naturehood. I’m not sure that it’s a brand-new idea—Canada has a naturehood program too, as do some individual communities—but it does have some great messaging about getting outside.
What’s a naturehood? A naturehood is simply nearby nature: parks and other special places close to home that allow to get outside and unwind. Because nature isn’t just something far away—it’s all around.
How to Find What’s in Your Naturehood
Want to get to know your Naturehood? One thing to do is to look for new places close by that you may not know about, or places you haven’t yet visited or fully explored. There are tons of great apps for exploring nature. But if you’re looking for new places in your neighborhood, here are some of the best places to look:
- Tools like the Discover the Forest website and Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder app are specifically designed to help find new places. But, since they rely on national databases, they may be lacking details on places closer to your home.
- Online maps, like Google Maps, can be really useful as well. Green areas usually represent public lands, and trail systems are being added to these applications.
- Of course, local guide books and maps (and websites) can provide a ton more detail about the highlights in your local area. Check out local book stores for guides and the local tourism or convention center office for free maps and magazines.
- Word of mouth, as always, can provide some of the best information. Ask friends or the folks working at local sporting good stores. Asking “What’s your favorite outdoor place within XX miles?” is a great icebreaker!