By Alyssa Abaloz
Last year a team of staff members developed Every Day Outdoors as a way to inspire the Matthaei-Nichols community to spend time outdoors all year long. This challenge began in the winter, when outdoor activities sometimes seem few and far between. Largely social media based, this campaign sought to foster nature-based interactions with our community members.
Guided by a bingo playing card featuring unique, yet simple activities, the campaign was designed to be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Many of the activities centered around noticing and appreciating things found in nature, such as finding berries that persist through the winter or pointing out trees that still have their leaves. Wild card spaces left room for creativity in outdoor play, where staff and followers could come up with their own adventures.

Every Day Outdoors bingo sheet for February 2021, created by Visitor Services Manager Andy Traugh.

Children’s Garden Coordinator Lee Smith Bravender led the development of this campaign. “MBGNA’s Every Day Outdoors is inspired by many things, including our own experiences of the interconnection between our time outdoors and our own well-being, the growing body of research elucidating the connection between Nature access and human well-being, and the desire to encourage families to get outdoors and play! We do #everydayoutdoors in the winter, recognizing that when you live in Michigan, maybe it takes a little extra encouragement, a little extra nudge to get out there every day.” Smith Bravender explained when asked about the inspiration for Every Day Outdoors.

Children’s Garden Coordinator Lee Smith Bravender participates in #everydayoutdoors by hand-feeding a bird.

“I hope people do get outdoors more this Winter: playing, getting curious, maybe seeing the natural world a little differently, simply enjoying being outdoors. Yet, this is not about perfection. Habits take time. It’s less about having to complete every prompt on a given day, more about ‘Hey, let’s try new activities outdoors today,’” Smith Bravender clarified.
So what is different about the 2022 campaign? Smith Bravender, a horticulturist and educator, said, “This year, MBGNA is sharing this challenge on several platforms; Facebook, Instagram, and our member newsletters to invite more folks, more families to play along with us!”
The 2022 playing card is already out–download it here! Take the challenge and spend some time outdoors every day, and share your adventures with us on Facebook, Instagram, or here on our website!
Check out this gallery of activities from 2021! The full experience can be found in our EDO 2021 Instagram Story Highlight.