It might also be trendy, but backyard chicken keeping isn’t just a delightful way to source a parade of fresh eggs and endless chicken entertainment, it’s also the perfect lure for getting outside regularly right where you are. And while, yes, keeping any outdoor animal provides the obligatory outdoor chore list, a backyard coop can also draw you into nature in ways that don’t include coop cleaning or flock feeding, says podcast guest Tove Danovich.

A journalist and author of the new book “Under the Henfluence: Inside the World of Backyard Chickens and the People Who Love Them,” Tove has an insider perspective on all the ways keeping a parade of chickens can connect you with your own nearby nature, too. Listen now.

[3:16] Tove Danovich’s favorite outdoor space
[4:23] How Tove became someone who likes to go outside
[6:42] Tove’s chicken story
[8:45] Chicken math
[11:02] Is there such a thing as too many chickens?
[14:40] How chickens help Tove get outside
[18:00] Warning warning she might a birder
[22:30] Rooster problems
[23:53] Why it matters that the chickens don’t need her
[29:05] The inside scoop on chicken culture
[32:17] What people should know about chickens that the books don’t really say
[37:00] Keeping chickens from becoming a chore
[42:47] Tove’s favorite outdoor moment

Tackling big challenges outside offers plenty of opportunities to learn big lessons. But this one? This takeaway is something I am going to be able to leverage for every outdoor experience. It all started with some insight from a Humans Outside podcast guest and became crystal clear during a recent big adventure on a very windy mountain run. So what’s the lesson and how can it help you? Listen now.

[:58] What is the most important thing I’ve learned?

[1:05] Woooooo, nervous system

[1:20] Sarah Histand, master of this topic, so check her out

[1:45] The secret power of your nervous system

[2:00] All the ways you might hear your nervous system talking

[2:40] Training your nervous system

[3:00] The fun words: titration and pendulation

[3:30] How this lesson helped me.

[3:50] The most important part of this lesson

[4:20] A reason example of this particular learning

[4:30] All about the Crazy Lazy Mountain Race and exactly how crazy it was

[6:12] The moment my nervous system left the party

[6:45] Why this understanding matters

[7:25] How this might apply to you even if you’re not on Lazy Mountain in big wind

How does spending time outside impact or help humans who are tackling life with various forms of neurodivergence or with an autism diagnosis? Dad and daughter duo Ian and Eve Alderman, who share both an autism diagnosis and a love of hiking, are navigating the world – literally – one hike at a time. With the support of mom Sarah, the Scotland-based family is teaching Eve to pair her unique abilities with the wide-world by doing long hiking projects for charity.

In this episode Ian takes a break from the trail to talk about their adventures, how spending time outside aids them on their life journey, and what other humans both neuronormative and neurodivergent may be able to find by spending more time outside.

[2:58] Ian Alderman’s favorite outdoor space

[3:44] All about Ian’s family and their outdoor story

[8:13] What autism looks like for Eve (age 9) and Ian

[12:09] How spending time outside helps Eve

[17:18] How they handle Eve’s schooling while hiking full time

[22:40] All about this year’s hiking project

[24:02] Hiking for charity

[28:13] What working through nature has taught Ian about his own autism

[31:55] Feeling vulnerable in nature and why that’s everyone

[32:33] What humans can find by going outside

[36:24] How listeners can support Ian and Eve

[37:37] Ian’s favorite outdoor moments

If getting excited about spring weather despite all of its unpredictability makes me a fool, then so be it. But while the uncertainty of spring can be exasperating, it also carries some important reminders that can help you lean into making the most of it, other seasons — both outside and inside — and events outside your control.

Ready to be a fool for spring, too? Listen now.

[:35] Spring is, well, a little dramatic

[1:05] 45 winters and springs and their names (not really)

[1:50] I am a fool and I like it

[2:30] The reminders of spring drama

[2:49] Living with flexibility due to lack of other options

[3:35] The seizing the day of the winter

[4:00] The power of understanding that seasons change

We spend a lot of time talking about the act, art and benefits of connecting with nature. But what about connecting with the humans who live on the land? What about seeing and being seen no matter where you are or what kind of nature you call home?

Travel photographer Lola Akinmade Åkerström has made a career of creating connections with the landscape, land and culture through portraiture of humans around the world. Born in Nigeria and now living in Sweden, Lola has a deep understanding of connecting with other humans because of the way she shares their experiences.

In this episode Lola talks about what she has personally learned through travel photography, what it’s like to make excellent portraits around the world and how you can find those same connections, too. Listen now.

 

[3:16] How Lola Akinmade Åkerström became someone who likes to go outside

[4:04] Lola’s outdoor story

[8:21] The kinds of photos Lola loves to make

[10:59] Lola’s books

[13:00] Life as a GIS scientist and how it translates to travel

[15:58] Her country tally and why it doesn’t matter

[17:58] The meaninglessness of borders and the importance of humans

[21:07] Why the connection of humans to seasons matters

[26:27] How she’s learned about people and culture

[28:45] How you can lean into that cultural connection

[30:43] What the shame cycle has to do with it

[33:31] The barriers, access and connection brought by being a Black woman

[37:30] Lola’s favorite outdoor moment

When I started my outdoor habit it was because I needed a way to push myself outside daily, no matter what. But over those more than 2,000 days I have discovered facets that are especially meaningful to me. Listen now.

[:35] Why I first started my outdoor habit

[1:00] Taking photos daily is a good try

[1:40] Things I love about my outdoor habit

[2:00] The favorite of a zillion new hobbies

[3:24] The favorite of new friends

[4:46] The thing I love the very most about my outdoor habit

Do you head outside for your mind, body, spirit — or all three? And when you’re out there, do you find there’s one specific activity or facet that is simply your favorite? That really moves you — literally or figuratively? That heals whatever part of you is feeling the most neglected today?

Tammah Watts followed a bird from her kitchen window while she was working on ways to physically heal. But what she found through bird watching is so much more. So what can a little connection with birds do for you? Listen now to find out.

[2:38] Tammah Watt’s favorite outdoor space

[5:30] How Tammah became someone who likes to go outside

[6:50] How Tammah became a birder

[11:33] How this is sort of like The Secret Garden

[14:22] The difference between birding and birdwatching and is there one?

[19:29] What intentionality has to do with it

[22:29] Why birding is healing to Tammah

[25:44] Why birds are easier for this connection than mountains or trees

[29:32] How birds can lead to mindfulness

[35:44] Why birding is so hot right now

[38:30] Tammah’s favorite outdoor moment

As the weather changes outside and one season starts to become another, it’s a good time to think about what happens when seasons change for humans. I don’t mean the outdoor seasons — but those count, too. I mean the seasons of humans, that it’s OK to change over time and what happens when you lean into the changing instead of resisting them.

Listen now!

[:40] Lessons from a coworker

[1:10] A changing of actual seasons

[1:35] Reminder on a sticky note

[2:00] Hints of spring in the air

[2:30] Fake news weather

[2:40] Seasons even when they aren’t dramatic

[3:13] Seasons just happen

[3:30] What happens when we resist actual seasons

[3:50] What happens when humans have seasons, too.

[4:20] It’s probably going to be OK

Curious about dog mushing? You’re in good company. Dog racing, known as mushing, is one of the many sports that draws tourists and lures enthusiasts to live in Alaska. But not everyone who mushes is a pro-racer tackling the Iditarod or keeping a huge yard of sled dogs. The north and Alaska are full of amateur racers who take on the sport because they both love dogs and the time in nature running a sled and dog teams brings.

In this episode Sarah Varland, an author, high school English teacher and amateur musher gives us the inside scoop on dog mushing, why she loves it and how it connects her to the world. Listen now.

[3:49] Sarah Varland’s favorite outdoor space

[4:53] How Sarah became someone who likes to go outside

[6:59] About Sarah’s writing and how going outside impacts it

[9:26] The basics of dog mushing and dog racing

[12:28] How Sarah got into dog racing

[14:36] What is mushing like?

[17:11] Is there “flow” when mushing?

[19:04] Top secret musher math

[23:05] What do sled dogs actually look like?

[24:41] What happens when a dog doesn’t want to work or pull?

[26:41] Is mushing and dog racing cruel to the dogs?

[29:22] What does dog racing cost?

[30:35] What dog mushing teaches Sarah about herself

[35:45] What dog mushing teaches Sarah about her faith?

[39:03] How to learn more about mushing if you’re interested or want to try it

[41:08] Sarah’s favorite outdoor moment

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