Spring, the season of rebirth and rejuvenation, is right around the corner. Buds bloom once again, birds chirp all day long, and the sun starts to shows itself a little bit more. But a restart shouldn’t be limited to Mother Nature. Here are some things to make sure that the learning doesn’t stop during your spring break:
1. Explore your backyard. Vancouverites are blessed to live in an amazing city – a bustling urban space that’s wonderfully interwoven and integrated with nature – and one would be remiss not to take advantage of this. The days are getting longer and the weather is starting to be a tad bit warmer, making it the perfect time to check out a new trail or revisit the old ones we’ve stayed away from during the winter. Take the opportunity to see nature’s changes up close: make note of the colour finally coming back to the plants, listen for and spot the increased animal activity, and breathe in that crisp spring air.
2. Stick to the usual sleeping schedule. The break in routine presents an opportunity to turn off those alarms and catch up on “lost sleep.” However, numerous studies have shown that oversleeping disrupts the body’s natural rhythms and can actually make you feel more tired. Regular oversleeping has also been linked to a high risk for diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Encourage everyone to go to bed early so they have enough energy to wake up with the birds the next day.
3. Watch award-winning documentaries. Plopping on the couch and surrendering the rest of your day off to a screen might not seem like the most productive spring break tip, but hear me out. In this day and age, it’s hard to break away from screens as they permeate almost every aspect of our lives. And we all know there are going to be some days the rain just makes it impossible to want to go outside. So instead of fighting it, why not use it to our advantage? Take control of the remote, and suggest that one-hour gets devoted to a quality nature documentary. Here are a few notable titles available in Netflix Canada:
- Life. (2009). A BBC production that showcases different animal and plant groups, and what strategies they employ to survive.
- Planet Earth. (2006). Another BBC production, and the predecessor to the amazing 2016 Planet Earth II. While Life looks at nature through different animal and plant groups, Planet Earth discusses nature through different biomes or habitats, ranging from the cold Antarctic to the lush tropical jungles of the Amazon.
- Growing Up Wild. (2016). Made by Disney, this hour-long documentary follows five baby mammals from different parts of the world grow up and learn how to survive in the wild.
- The Blue Planet: A Natural History of the Oceans. (2001). This BBC production explores the marine world, from the familiar coral reef communities to the dark unknown.
4. Do some spring cleaning. This is a spring break staple, and for good reason: we don’t realize it, but we accumulate so many things over the course of a year. Like nature going from season to season, not everything we collect can be brought over to the next stage of our lives. An easy place to start is the hanger strategy for clothes – face all your hangers away from you and flip each one after wearing the item hanging on it; this helps make it obvious which items you’re no longer wearing. Then, instead of throwing away these clothes and items, give them new life by hosting a clothing swap with friends or donating them to charity. After all, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
5. Check out the Beaty Biodiversity Museum’s spring break programming. This spring break, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum offers more than our regular guided tours or a showing of our own documentary about our blue whale skeleton. Every day at noon during spring break, we’re running hands-on activities in the museum, with each day featuring a different topic. Curious about the creatures that live in our pond? Maybe you’re interested in learning more about fossils and the wonders of Planet Earth? Would you like to learn how to collect and preserve those wonderful flowers you see around your house? With the diversity of activities we have lined up, there’s always something for everyone. Stop by for some outside-the-classroom learning that will deepen your appreciation for Mother Nature.
For more information about the Beaty Biodiversity Museum’s spring break programming, check out beatymuseum.ubc.ca/spring-break-2017.