Students advocate to get outdoors

Senior+Austin+Bradley+pets+his+dog+while+enjoying+the+outdoors.

Austin Bradley

Senior Austin Bradley pets his dog while enjoying the outdoors.

Erin Pickert, Feature Editor

With classes being online for the rest of the 2020 spring semester and social distancing practices being enforced, many De Soto High School Wildcats are feeling rather cooped up in their homes. Two students from DHS shared the need to be taking advantage of this time to get outdoors and reconnect with nature.

“[Spending time outdoors has] made all the difference,” senior Austin Bradley said. “Being able to be outside during this time lessens that feeling of seclusion and isolation that, right now, everyone is experiencing.”

Senior Aspen Grieshaber also expresses the need of getting outside during quarantine.

“It is so important to get outside when you can during this time because getting some Vitamin D can really do a number on your mental health,” Grieshaber said. “Sunshine makes you feel great and can help immensely during this dark period.”

In order to spend more time outside, Bradley completes most of his assignments from his back patio and urges others to also make efforts to get fresh air. Whether or not they spend as much time as he does, he encourages them to find some outdoor hobby.

“I think that for most people they need some sort of connectedness with nature and the natural world. Whether that’s through fishing, or going on hikes, or playing basketball or soccer or anything outside,” Bradley said.  

For many, the social distancing required during this time has made daily tasks more difficult. Many seniors, such as Grieshaber and Bradley, are facing the loss of aspects of senior year that are often eagerly looked forward to.

“Nature has helped me cope because I am able to be outside and enjoy the little things around me,” Grieshaber said. “The random purple and white flowers in our yard and the bluebirds using our nesting boxes are just a few things that my family see and we think ‘oh! how pretty!’ and using those to see the good in every situation helps us to cope with the grief.”

Grieshaber takes daily walks, cycles with her family, explores hiking trails and even rock climbs when she finds an opportunity.

Senior Austin Bradley photographs a honeybee in his garden.
Senior Austin Bradley photographs a Monarch Butterfly in his garden.

For Bradley, he often takes walks, bikes, goes for runs, plays with his dog and spends time in his vegetable garden and flower beds. Bradley suggests that simple activities can make a large impact to counter the mental health struggles many may be experiencing.

“Going on a walk, even just up and down the road or around the block, can be a great way to step away from your school work and have a break from it all,” Bradley said.

However, if you’re not wanting to get super active outside, Bradley suggests to “sit on [your] back deck or patio with a cup of coffee or some kind of drink, and just sit outside for just five or 10 minutes … and just hear the wind and the birds and take a moment to soak that in and enjoy the outdoors.”

Grieshaber recommends taking some of your inside passions, like guitar playing, drawing or reading, outside.

“It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s the fact that you’re outside,” Grieshaber said.

Many find spending time outdoors to be a meditative experience.

“The thing I most enjoy about the outdoors is that it clears my mind,” Grieshaber said. “It’s sort of a meditative feeling and anyone who spends time outside would agree. It’s so therapeutic and helps ease the soul.” 

Grieshaber has noticed the increased amount of people spending time outdoors, visiting parks and more. She holds an optimistic view that there will be good to come out of the situation in terms of environmental awareness.

“I hope that when we come out of this society, we will have a greater appreciation for nature and begin to use our voices to protect it,” Grieshaber said. “I hope that some people are now seeing the trash in the rivers and the trash in the trees so they understand what people … have been talking about.”

Bradley and Grieshaber are excited about a renewed appreciation for the outdoors, which they hope will continue to impact the decisions people make in regards to the health of not only themselves, but the people around them and the Earth they live on.