Among the lifestyle challenges of living in a city are finding ways to create nature spaces near your home. While many city community green spaces are in the form of parks, everything from their upkeep to ease of access varies widely. And those spaces often aren’t designed with a focus on what the community needs or who lives and plays there, creating a block for use by all.

In Washington, D.C. the organization City Blossoms is working to change that by creating garden spaces focused on youth involvement across the city. With two of their core values focused on diversity and equity, the organization partners with communities to create gardens that don’t just live in the neighborhood, but are centered around its needs.

In this episode, Rafael Woldeab, City Blossom’s executive director, shares his organization’s mission, why it matters and how outdoor-lovers anywhere can use what City Blossoms has learned to connect them with nature right where they are.

[3:54] How Rafael Woldeab became someone who likes to go outside
[5:05] Why the National Arboretum is a good example of nature inequity
[10:19] What is City Blossoms?
[18:31] Should we focus our resources on community gardens or curated garden spaces?
[20:32] Why diversity and inclusion are central to gardening
[26:23] Why do gardens matter?
[33:51] What gardening can teach you about life
[36:52] How anyone can experience the power of gardens
[44:01] Rafael’s favorite outdoor gear
[45:44] Rafael’s favorite outdoor moment

When was the last time you let curiosity be your guide as you headed outside? It can be easy to stuff that sense of wondering down and fall victim to box checking or making it to the destination. Curiosity, as cliche as it sounds, is what lets you enjoy the journey.

In this Outdoor Diary Amy explores the simple way she’s been working to let curiosity drive her decisions outside — and why you might want to do the same.

Some of the good stuff:

[:45] The destruction of a windstorm leads to curiosity

[1:21] What this meant near Amy

[1:50] Getting dirty and into it

[2:26] Adults are bad at this

[2:46] What might happen if you’re fueled by wondering

[3:13] Why Amy is thinking about this

[3:54] Following curiosity to a debris field

Simple. Boring. Tired. You might think of just going for a regular walk as being something only people with nothing better to do make a part of their daily lives.

But what if going for a walk isn’t only an easy way to spend time outside, but also one that’s so varied and beneficial that understanding the practice is a matter of scientific research?

Author Annabel Streets was so startled by how much better she felt when she started going for walks that she researched the science behind what was happening and wrote a book about it. The result, 52 Ways to Walk, details out — you guessed it — 52 different ways to go for a walk and all of the research behind the benefits of each one.

In this episode of Humans Outside, Annabel shares her least and most favorite ways to walk, her walking journey, and why any of it should matter to you.

[2:59] Annabel Street’s favorite outdoor space

[3:36] How Annabel became someone who likes to go outside and also go for walks

[7:07] Why she started researching walking

[8:14] Was it hard to find 52 ways?

[8:52] Why people avoid walking

[9:23] Her favorite new way to walk

[12:19] Amy’s night experience

[16:44] What people always think about walking

[18:43] Her least favorite way to walk

[19:39] Another perfect and underappreciated walking favorite

[24:18] Ways to walk that didn’t make it into the book

[30:38] Want to start walking? Here’s how.

[35:06] Annabel’s favorite outdoor gear

[36:49] Annabel’s favorite outdoor memory

Spending a lot of time outdoors? You might find that you’ve started caring about the environment more than you used to. While Amy was a kid, “environmentalism” was seen by her family as a bad thing. But today she knows loving nature means taking care of it. And so she’s started doing some simple tasks to put those feelings into action.

[:50] What environmentalism was to Amy growing up

[1:58] How she thinks about environmentalism now

[2:14] Why spending time outside makes you care about the environment

[3:00] The selfishness of loving the environment

[3:22] What this has to do with “leave no trace”

[3:45] What it has to do with buying used stuff

[4:00] What it has to do with how you spend your time

No matter where you live you probably regularly see at least one kind of animal outside your window: birds. City or country, birds serve the ecosystem while providing humans with beauty, curiosity and entertainment.

And if you spend any time noticing them, you are already participating in birding. Feeling curious and want to learn more about these feathered friends? That’s where today’s guest, Yamina Nater-Otero, comes in. As a program coordinator for Audubon New York based in New York City, she knows that you don’t need to live somewhere with big forests or nearby mountains to learn about and watch birds. And in her role as secretary for Amplify the Future, she knows you also don’t need to look a certain way or come from any special background to participate. Birding and all of nature is for everyone.

In this episode of Humans Outside Yamina talks to us about how literally anyone can become a birder and the importance of birds in the use of nearby nature.

[3:04] Yamina Nater-Otero’s favorite outdoor space

[4:11] How Yamina became someone who likes to go outside

[5:39] How she got into birding

[7:12] What is her favorite bird and, also, is it possible to have a favorite bird?

[8:09] Amy’s favorite bird

[11:46] How birding was an outdoor gateway

[13:58] Misconceptions about birding

[18:20] What is a birder?

[22:49] Useful bonus items for birding

[24:17] What kind of binoculars to buy if you want some

[26:39] How to create a happy bird space

[29:48] How to get started with birding

[32:07] How birding might be a gateway activity

[35:17] Birding can even make you love this place

[38:10] Yamina’s favorite outdoor gear

[39:24] Yamina’s favorite outdoor moment

As so many faith traditions celebrate holy days in the spring, Amy has been thinking about the spirituality of heading outside and the ways her faith background misses the boat on understanding and appreciating spirituality in nature.

[:47] Is nature spiritual?

[1:03] Why we rarely talk about spirituality on Humans Outside

[2:05] The mistake of some faith traditions

[3:27] Where the Bible talks about the spiritual connection of nature

[3:58] A scripture connection to nature

If you spend time with nature you might start to feel like the great outdoors is a friend that you want to take extra care of. Even if you’ve been interested in conservation before, it might now seem more personal, more important.

But spending time outside also means you’re using nature more than you used to. So how can you maximize your time in nature while also creating a minimalist lifestyle? Today’s guest, Meg Carney, offers help for environmentally-minded outdoor uses through her podcast Outdoor Minimalist and upcoming book of the same title.

[2:51] Meg Carney’s favorite outdoor space
[4:01] How Meg learned to love to go outside
[5:54] Why people get into conservation
[7:15] What is “minimalism?”
[11:45] Meg’s book and podcast
[13:55] How to be a minimalist without also living in a tiny house
[23:40] Does one person’s minimalism matter in the big picture?
[30:00] How should the outdoor industry fit into this?
[36:34] Simple steps you can take towards minimalism right now
[40:00] Meg’s favorite outdoor gear
[44:30] Meg’s favorite outdoor moment

The great thing about nature is that it will always have what you need. But how do you know what that is? In this episode, Amy talks about a little bit of her journey to understand how to get what she needs from heading outside.

[:45] How seeking what I need got started
[2:00] The unique thing about a relationship with nature
[2:11] Why you’re not actually giving anything back so don’t say you are
[2:25] Why nature is like a buffet
[3:00] How people figure out what they need
[3:40] What you really have to do
[3:51] What I’ve been up to

If you love spending time in nature like it’s your job, you might start looking for ways to make that literally true. If that’s you, you’re not alone — it’s the inspiration behind the careers of many members of the outdoor industry. But how do you make the jump from one industry to another? And is making nature your job a good idea?

Those are just some of the questions Jenna Celmer helps address through the outdoor industry job company Basecamp Outdoor and its Facebook-based networking group. In this episode Jenna talks through the why and how of making the jump into the outdoor industry.

[3:31] Jenna Celmer’s favorite outdoor space
[4:01] How Jenna became someone who likes to go outside
[7:05] What is Base Camp?
[8:27] How Jenna got involved in Base Camp
[12:51] Creating accountability in the outdoor industry
[15:50] Why it’s easy for people in the outdoor industry to be taken advantage of
[20:00] Why does going outside make you want to make it a job?
[22:41] Is it easy to break into the outdoor industry?
[24:41] How to break into the outdoor industry
[27:17] What is networking?
[30:44] What does Jenna tell people who want to get into the outdoor industry?
[34:04] What to expect in the outdoor industry
[35:03] Tips for breaking into the outdoor industry