by Adeline Bellesheim, Lloyd Center Educator/Naturalist

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The outbreak of COVID-19 is unlike anything that we have experienced in living memory. With the recent emergency order announcement by Governor Baker put into place on March 24, tensions and anxieties are running high. The Lloyd Center for the Environment is a nonessential business, and is therefore closed to the public. However, the staff is committed to continuing the education of our community through social media and other online platforms.

The most essential lesson we want to share with our friends and family is the importance of practicing social distancing, while also keeping your sanity! The staff at the Lloyd Center is encouraging everyone to get outside and enjoy one of the most magnificent times of year. Spring has arrived, and is already in full swing! The osprey have returned from their journeys to South America. The brown-headed Cowbirds are singing. Snakes, turtles, and other reptiles are basking in the warm sunlight. The flowers are blooming and tree buds are popping, and we want everyone to enjoy it!

As Educators, we understand how strange it is that children are not in school right now. Without Feathery Focus Field Trips and Coastal Field Studies, the Lloyd Center doesn’t feel quite like spring!
We know that our students are probably more stir-crazy than ever, and we would like to help families by providing family-friendly activities and educational information for science lessons at home. It is important during these uncertain times that we still maintain a healthy relationship with the great outdoors.

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Spending time in nature can do wonders for our mental health and inner peace. As you begin to write daily schedules for your family, make sure you set aside a chunk of time to get outside every day. Turn neighborhood walks into bird watching lessons. Listen to the variety of songs, and see if you can determine what species of bird it is using online resources. Time spent in the yard can be transformed into vegetation identification. If you really want to get into it, you can even try making your very own Herbarium. This is a simple process of drying and pressing plants for a collection. Dried plants can also be used for making wildlife art! There is always joy to find outside, even on gloomy and rainy spring days.

Use this time of uncertainty as an opportunity to visit safe places outdoors that you have not had the time to explore. When you are surrounded by flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds and budding trees, it will be impossible to feel isolated. Go smell the salt marsh and listen to leaves crunch underneath your feet. Wake up early to catch the sunrise, or stay up late to hear owls calling to one another. It is unknown what the next few months will look like, but the one thing that will always be there for us is nature.