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Often times we engage in nature just by looking through a window

With the Pokemon-Go Craze going on right now, many people are getting outside and walking around who would rarely spend extended time out of doors! While this is exciting for many, there can also be some misconceptions about what kinds of animals are outdoors and even how to engage in nature.  And this phenomenon isn’t just limited to the Pokemon-Goers but do we really look up and engage in nature in a positive way?

From my own personal experience I would have to say somedays yes and somedays no! Why is that? Just the other day I went to the park after work to try to relax and be in nature (because I love nature). But for some reason I was uneasy and I had my own personal apprehension about wearing my work clothes. I found myself worrying about getting them dirty and instead of wanting to enjoy and engage in nature I was not wanting to go off the path or even sit in the grass! I eventually convinced myself that it would be good for me and after walking through the meadow for a bit I noticed birds. Lots of swallows swooping and flying everywhere!

Small invertebrates are incredibly valuable to the ecosystem

It was such a pretty sight until I began to put two and two together. . . They were not just flying for fun they were flying and catching the swarms of bugs! Ew bugs everywhere! I immediately wanted to leave and began to worry about mosquitoes or some other small insect biting me. But then I had to stop and remind myself. Each of these animals is unique. It has it’s own beauty it’s own purpose, and insects are not evil. In fact they are incredibly important to the ecosystem! All those amazing birds would not be there without them. And that is just one small detail.

However it is hard to remember this. We need to remind ourselves when we see animals or insects that we don’t “like” that each animal has it’s own beauty and it’s own purpose. Just because we don’t understand it or know that much about it does not mean that it’s purpose is to make my life miserable (even though sometimes that’s how I feel about spiders and mosquitoes). Even though our natural reaction to some animals is: UGH or AH! And so often our first thoughts are completely irrational like “this animals purpose is to make me miserable” or “this animal–that is really far away from me– is going to run over here and bite me or kill me.”  We’ve all thought it. . . especially when it comes to spiders. . . But this is rarely true especially for animals like spiders, most animals want to eat and to sleep and survive and take care of their families.

Coyotes are considered by many people to be dangerous and frightening

And it’s not just invertebrates that fill us with fear or apprehension–coyotes, mountain lions, and sharks can often get a bad reputation. Yes, these animals deserve respect. You shouldn’t try to feed any of these animals or try to get too close. Yes, they should be treated with caution and given distance because they are wild animals, not domesticated. But as a whole, animals aren’t out to get us and they also aren’t out to be our best friends or let us do whatever we want with them. We don’t need to be afraid of nature, but must respect and understand it. In the same way, some humans can be dangerous then some animals can be dangerous too. Nature and the animals and plants that comprise it are valuable to the world, with a purpose and a life (which can be as unpredictable of a life as humans are). . .They balance our planet and without them some of our food sources would not exist. We need bees to pollinate, we need spiders to get rid of extra insects, we need bugs to provide food sources for our fluffy and feathered “friends” and these are a few of some of the small links in our ecosystem.


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