Total Eclipse Across America
This past week thousands flocked to the band across the United States where the total eclipse of the sun occurred.
What drove them to experience this phenomena?
- It certainly was extraordinary
- Most will never have the opportunity again in their lifetimes
- It was a media event
- Maybe they were on TV or in a newspaper
Did Participants Connect with Nature?
You bet they did!
- To view the solar eclipse they had to be outside
- The sun and moon are part of nature
Was There Planning Involved?
There was lots of planning.
- Special glasses or other paraphernalia was required
- It was on a Monday, so many planned a vacation day
- Thousands drove or flew to one of the best viewing areas
This once in a lifetime event is a impetus to get outside and connect with nature. How?
- Take your lunch outside
- Wake up early and watch the sunrise
- Park farther away from your destination and walk
- Stop outside, close your eyes and listen to the sounds of nature
- Offer up a prayer of gratitude for your life
The incredible exodus of Americans outside to view the solar eclipse was an opportunity to realize how special nature is. Enjoy her gifts everyday.
1. Improved Cardiovascular and Muscle Fitness
Do you remember when children ran outside and played active games like hide and seek or hopscotch? Today children are often sitting in front of the television, engrossed in a video game, or texting their friends. Regular hiking will build stronger muscles and improve their heart, lung, and vascular fitness. Adults are also less active if they have careers that keep them at their desks.The whole family gets healthier together!
2. Improved Bone Health
A sedentary lifestyle results in weak bones that may break more easily, in children and adults. The impact of walking and hiking strengthens bones at the cellular level and is one of the factors to reduce the chance to develop osteoporosis as we age.
3. Better Sleep
Who doesn’t want their children and themselves sleeping better!
4. Active Learning Using All the Senses
When you expose your children to different environments, the opportunity to learn is huge. Take the time to engage all your senses by closing your eyes and smelling the odors of nature; pine scent in a forest, earthiness of a swamp, sweetness of wild roses, the deliciousness of ripe wild strawberries. Using touch, feel the textures of different rocks, tree bark, leaves, and stones. In the stillness of a quiet forest or along a lakeshore listen for the calls of birds. Look for the small animals often missed, ground beetles, blue dragonflies, hummingbirds, and butterflies.
5. It Just Feels Good
The positive energy in nature makes us smile. To tune in to its treasure, ask your family to sit on a rock or bench in a comfortable location, in sun if it’s chilly, in shade if it’s hot. Instruct everyone to close their eyes and breathe in to the count of 4, breathe out to the count of 4. In a soothing voice say, “Feel the breeze across your face and the warmth of the sun on your neck. Ahhhh. How do you feel?” Let your children express their feelings in this safe, loving environment. Congratulations, they’ve just participated in a short meditation!
Lifetime Senior Pass price to increase by 700%
Did you know the Lifetime Senior Pass for all National Park and Forest Service Fee areas is going up? Today it is $10. After August 27th it will be $80. That’s right, a $70 increase and a 700% rise in price. Get to a National Park fee area no later than August 27, 2017 to avoid the price increase!
American citizens and permanent residents with a valid photo ID who are 62 years old or older.
How Do I Get a Lifetime Senior Pass?
The most fun way is to visit any Federal recreation site where entrance fees are collected; National Parks, National Wildlife Areas, and many National Forest Lands. I got mine at the Mt. Evans Mountain Road kiosk. It costs $15 to drive up this mountain road with incredible views, but since I bought my Lifetime Senior Pass, I only paid $10.
You can also find a district office and buy your pass there. Here is the link to the places you can purchase your pass organized by state:
Why is the price increasing to $80?
We have the US Congress to thank for the increase. They passed the Centennial Legislation P.L. 114-289 on December 16, 2016. Essentially, this legislation states that the cost of the lifetime Senior Pass must be equal to the cost of the annual America the Beautiful pass, which is available regardless of age and is currently $80. If you would like to read the bill, here is the link.
Don’t Lose Your Senior Pass
If you aren’t sure you can find your Lifetime Senior Pass, go get another one NOW before the price increases. The National Park Service cannot replace lost or stolen passes, so please keep your pass secure.
Still Have Questions?
Call the Denver Office Monday through Friday 8 am – 4 pm Mountain Time and talk to a Park and Forest Service Employee, 1-888-275-874. If the line is busy, download the full list of offices and recreation sites and call one near you. Here is the link.
The National Park Service website has a page dedicated to questions about Changes to the Senior Pass and also a page about all the offered America the Beautiful Passes.
What Are You Waiting For?
Get out there and buy your pass so you and often everyone in your vehicle can start to “Connect With Nature to Heal”.
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