Project Nature Blog

Find Urban Nature in Your Backyard

Nature is often thought of as being far away from the city, untouched by humans. In reality, nature can be found in the dense, urban environment of a city. Nature is everywhere, sometimes you just need to look a bit harder for it. Below are a few ideas to find nature in your neighborhood.

Lincoln Park, West Seattle 

Take a Walk

Head out on a walk around your neighborhood the early morning to find urban wildlife. Hit the streets before the hustle and bustle of the day to find birds, raccoons, squirrels, rats, bugs and maybe even a coyote.

Go on a Leaf Hunt

Take a stroll and collect fallen leaves from around your neighborhood. Bring them home to see if you can identify what tree they belong to. Sites like iNaturalist can help with identification. Create a journal with leaf etchings to record your findings.

Find a Bird Cam

Bird cams provide a unique opportunity to watch birds in their nests. Find a list of bird cams on the Seattle Audubon site to experience birds in their natural environment without disturbing them.

Photograph the Sky

Find a spot near your home where you can see as much of the sky above you as possible. Take a photo of the sky everyday for a month around the same time of day and then compare the images. Does the sky look different depending on the weather? Are there any birds or clouds in the sky? What else is different about your images?

Bug Hunt

Look around your home or yard. Who else shares your home other than your family and pets? You might be surprised to learn we also share our homes with insects. Search your home and look in the nooks and crannies to find the bugs sharing your space. Take pictures or draw pictures of the bugs you find. Search online to identify the bugs sharing your home and yard.

 Observe the Seasons

 Does the city look different in different seasons? Find two areas for observation – one inside your home and the other outside. Observe these spots during various seasons – take photos, keep notes about what you see and after a year, look at your findings and compare how the four seasons are different in your urban environment.

Plant Vegetation

Plant a window garden or even a backyard garden if space allows. Watching plants as they go from tiny seeds to grown plants which produce their own fruit can be exciting. Growing plants can be a great way to interact with nature while digging in the dirt.

Head to the Park

City parks can be wonderful places to find nature. Take a stroll around the park and take note of everything you see from weeds to birds and urban wildlife. Lie in the grass and observe the trees above you. Sit quietly and listen to the sounds of nature intermingled with the sounds of the city.

By Rebecca Mongrain