Social distancing is tough for a nature lover, but not if you follow these ideas from Quest Nature Tours leaders. Embrace nature, but please remember to be smart and safe while doing so, even if that means you must stay in your own backyard!

We asked our Quest Nature Tours leaders,
"What are you doing to enjoy nature right now?"

Here's what they had to say.
American Robin Chris Earley
Pete Read and his wife, Sue
“We are taking part in what has been called the 5MR Birding in Ontario challenge. The concept is to see how many different species you can find within a 5-mile radius (8km) of your house. This helps reduce your ecological footprint and potentially find birds that you otherwise may not have found. We have enjoyed finding and exploring our immediate area (find yours here!), without going long distances. And finding some interesting birds while doing that.”


Sherry Kirkvold
“I am getting out into the parks as the spring flowers (like crocus pictures above) have just started. A little less friendly to the environment, as we don’t carpool, but arrive separately and walk a couple of metres apart.”


Chris Earley
The University of Guelph Arboretum [where I am the Interpretive Biologist and Education Coordinator] is posting scavenger hunts, nature doodles, nature Technology Tuesdays and other nature-related activities on their Facebook and Instagram feeds (@uogarboretum). Check it out, especially if you have grandkids!

Eastern Bluebirds Gary Irwin

Gabriel Foley
“Here in Maryland, spring is in full swing and several species, like Carolina Wrens, Eastern Bluebirds, or Wood Ducks, are all beginning to nest. That means I am encouraging people to get outside and do some atlasing (I manage the Maryland & DC Breeding Bird Atlas 3), and trying to get out myself as often as I can! Each morning I walk my 'patch' and get some fresh air and see what birds I can find. A couple nights ago, I was able to get out and listen for woodcock displays - it was wonderful hearing that peeent!”

Smithsonian virtual tour bones exhibit

Marty Obbard
“A friend of mine sent me a list of museums with virtual tours – it’s a long one! My favourite so far is the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The images are crisp and you can move room to room.”

Justin Peter

Justin Peter
"I'm taking advantage of the added time indoors to finish a scientific note detailing a new Double-crested Cormorant nesting colony that I discovered last summer while backcountry canoeing. The note will appear in the April edition of Ontario Birds, the journal of the Ontario Field Ornithologists."

(Note: You can read other notes and articles he has completed on his leader page here!)

Mike Kent naturalist Sarnia Ontario

Mike Kent

“I’ve been checking a spot out here in Sarnia for salamanders. I've got my fingers crossed that I’ll find some with the rains and mild temperatures. Earlier in the week I visited another spot during the day and got to see some a resident pileated woodpecker, club mosses, snow fleas, wood frog eggs, and calling chorus frogs. Western Chorus Frogs, like their cousins, Spring Peepers are some our province's amphibian harbingers of spring, at least ones with a spring in their step (I'm pretty sure salamanders don't jump anyways). Like other frogs, they have a freeze tolerance while overwintering and literally thaw with their environment around them as spring approaches. I’m fascinated!”

Hamilton Peregrine Project nest cam

Brian Ratcliff
"I've been enjoying watching the behaviour of nesting birds especially raptors on web cams.
I'm involved with the Hamilton Naturalists' Club, the Hamilton Community Peregrine Project. The pair of Peregrine Falcons have just laid their first egg this week!

Also, I'm watching a pair of Bald Eagles in Minnesota that have so far hatched two of their three eggs this week. Should be lots of activity to watch over the next few weeks!"
Birds Canada guide

Here’s a suggestion from Catherine Jardine:
“Use this Birds Canada tool to create a Photo Identification Guide of common birds in your region at a particular time of year. This is a fun means to identify the birds you see outside and see what you should be on the lookout for.”

The Voyage of the Beagle Charles Darwin

And Gabriel Foley
“It's awfully nerdy but... Fantasy Birding exists. Players select a location and the eBird checklists submitted within 10 km of the location count towards your species list. Surprisingly challenging, and a good way to learn about species distribution.

I've also found two free public domain PDF/ebooks of Alfred Russel Wallace's The Malay Archipelago or Charles Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle.”