On the Hunt for Joy Challenge — Get Outside

When I heard about Cee Neuner’s new challenge, I wanted to jump in, and take new pictures to fit each weekly theme.  The first topic, Get Outside, should have been easy for me because I do get outside almost every day.  But this week was just bleak, gray, and muggy outside.  So I am reaching back to September of 2019, when I went to Galveston for a short conference of the Texas Association of Environmental Education.

The conference was at a beautiful location, an aquatic education center called Sea Star Base.  It seemed like all the educators I met not only had full-time jobs at various nature refuges and conservancies, but they also had families, wrote books, sat on policy boards, researched in the Amazon, raised pastured chickens, AND fostered abandoned baby skunks.  So while this first picture, of our group doing nature journaling, might seem to demonstrate “focus” rather than “joy,”  I guarantee you that everyone was joyful to get even 20 minutes to just sit and take in the small area of nature around them.

people journaling outside

Nature journaling at the TAEE conference.

Within minutes, people had noticed snails crawling up the saltgrasses, palm leaves unfurling, and a giant crab hanging out next to the concrete retaining wall, things they had never noticed before.

We also got to take a sunset cruise of Galveston Bay, and it was a joy to get close to the shorebirds and seabirds, especially the Brown Pelicans.

snowy egret flying over acres of saltgrass

Snowy over Saltgrass.

white ibis

White Ibis.

brown pelicans

Brown Pelicans. In 1969, only 116 Brown Pelicans could be found on the Texas coast, but since the banning of DDT, they have come back. I saw more than 116 on this evening cruise.  That is a reason for celebration!

So that was a joyful weekend outside.  If you want to play along with On the Hunt for Joy, the information is here.  Hope to see you participate too!