It’s a new year, and with the flip of the first new calendar page there flickers up the glimmer of renewed hope for improved health, positive change and finding ways of becoming more relevant. These paths of enlightenment work nicely, not only in our personal lives, but in nature as well.

One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions made each year is to improve one’s physical health. If we put this same focus on nature, what would it look like?

Improving the health of our environment might be: spending more time outside; walking, picking up trash, clearing or pruning unwanted foliage or vegetation; learning which plants are invasive species and ridding an area of those harmful plants; reducing the amount of chemicals put into your lawn, providing maintenance to broken pipes that waste water; putting down a healthy dose of compost/mulch to an area starving for nutrients/moisture; adding bird feeders/waterers to landscaping; adding vines/low-growing shrubs to areas where animals may need shelter; taking old, unused paints/oils/chemicals to an appropriate dumping site.

Any of these things would immediately improve the health of the nature and ecosystems around you.

Although positive change in one’s life is subjective and there’s not one exact way to accomplish this, there are some universal concepts considered effective. The same goes with nature. With so many different ways to make a positive change, it is up to the individual to find one. In light of current water/climate issues, it’s a widely agreed upon premise that planting native species is a positive addition to any natural habitat, including private yards. Deciding on less turf grass to add more native beds is a step in the right direction for using less water and fertilizers. Learning about current environmental issues for your area can help guide you when making changes.

Listening, reading, surfing the Web and word of mouth are wonderful ways to pick up on nature’s needs and concerns. It’s important to become involved in the solutions instead of being part of the problems.

Nature cannot speak for itself. It definitely shows us its needs by its responses to what we do around it. Each one of us, doing our part, helps our environment to be as healthy, productive and efficient as possible.

Darla Menking is a certified Bell County Texas Master Gardener and a Texas Master Naturalist. Email her at darla.menking


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