Our natural areas offer social distance

In Anchorage, schools are closed, many people are working from home, and all libraries, and civic, cultural and recreational facilities are closed. As the Coronavirus spreads across the U.S., health experts agree that increasing social distance is critical. Avoiding contact with people and large groups helps slow the spread of the virus.

As Alaskans, we are lucky to have the open space to distance ourselves from others. Our local parks and trails are still open. Being in nature is an excellent way to get out of the house, breathe some fresh air, and stay the recommended six feet away from other people. Here are a few ideas for getting outside over the weekend or during the school closure.

  • Go for a walk around your local park and identify as many plants and trees (yes, it’s winter so this might be more challenging) using one of many free apps such as Botany Buddy, LeafSnap, or Virginia Tech’s Tree ID.
  • If trees are too hard to ID this time of year, try birds. It’s still a bit early for spring migration, but our resident birds are fun to watch. The Cornell Lab’s Merlin ID app is free and great for beginning birders of all ages.
  • Find a secluded park bench and enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature, warmth of the sun, and tranquility of being present in the moment. This is a stressful time and nature is healing.
  • Explore the wonders of nature with a virtual guide. Nature is cool. The free Nature Passport app is full of innovative nature-based games, crafty projects, simple experiments, and fresh inspiration for learning at home and in parks.

Follow us on Facebook as we continue to share activities and ideas for getting outside. Stay safe, look out for one another and keep your distance.

In an effort to do our part, the Anchorage Park Foundation is closed to the public through the end of March. For public health updates and other preventative actions visit the Anchorage Health Department.