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  • Perla Sofía Curbelo-Santiago

Go Green: 15 Nature-Inspired Events




Green events, or those in touch with nature, offer an outstanding opportunity to socialize with coworkers, strengthen family ties, or reconnect with lifelong friends.


Scientific studies confirm numerous benefits to our physical, emotional, and mental health when we engage in plant-based and natural activities. These benefits are magnified when shared with others, as we experience less isolation. Additionally, we find ourselves in better spirits, more focused on the task at hand, and can maintain a relaxed state for longer. Under these conditions, we can genuinely offer our best selves to those around us.


These green events, suitable for pairs, small groups, or even up to 20 people, can range from simple activities like a walk in the community park to specialized orchid workshops at a gardening center.


The beauty of green events is their versatility. They can be held indoors or outdoors, tailored to each participant's abilities and circumstances, and have a high potential for inclusivity.


Below, are 15 green event ideas you can organize at home, in public spaces, or in workplaces, complete with a suggested minimum duration.


1. Potting Party


A fabulous activity to host outdoors or inside. From preparing seedlings to combining flowering and edible plants in one container, participants of all ages and abilities can join in. Provide the seeds and/or plants, soil, pots, basic tools (if needed), watering resources, and a brief overview of the project at hand. Depending on the number of attendees, consider pairing seasoned gardeners with beginners or those who might need assistance.


Suggested duration: 1 hour


2. Guided Neighborhood Garden Tours


These tours can be organized visits to a neighbor's garden, who's keen to share about their plants or a trip to a local park or botanical garden. Given the space's size and whether it's public or private, participant numbers might be limited. Some gardens or parks may require prior booking for larger groups. It's an ideal event for colleagues, friends, or family. Tours with professional guides might come with additional costs. Ensure attendees are briefed about the destination, expectations, appropriate attire for comfort, and any etiquette to follow.


Suggested duration: 2 hours


3. Garden-themed Party


Host this outdoors or even on a terrace. Keep an eye on the weather to make necessary arrangements. The theme could be tied to a specific celebration, or you could suggest a fun motif based on famous movie characters (like Star Wars) or a particular era (the Roaring '20s). Larger groups will need more coordination. If hosted in a public space or company garden, ensure prior space booking. Share thematic guidelines and event details with participants in advance, including any snacks or meals provided.


Suggested duration: 3-4 hours


4. Outdoor Book Discussion


This can be adapted for a movie or a Netflix series discussion. The key is ensuring all participants are up to date with the content to avoid spoilers and enhance the exchange of ideas. Depending on the location, consider tidying up the garden for a better ambiance. This can be a daytime or nighttime event; if the latter, arrange for additional lighting and bug repellent. Also, provide snacks and discussion guides for participants.


Suggested duration: 2 hours








5. Gardening After Dark


An event you can host outdoors, on a terrace, or indoors. While gardening is typically a daytime activity, it can be equally enchanting at night, offering a unique chance to appreciate nocturnal biodiversity. From preparing seedlings to planting a variety of plants following a specific recipe, you could even create a moon garden. Just like the potting party, provide seeds, soil, pots, and basic tools. Given the nighttime setting, ensure additional lighting and mosquito repellent.


Suggested duration: 1 hour



6. Crafts with Pressed Flowers


This activity consists of three essential parts: collecting the flowers, pressing the flowers, and making a craft with the flowers. People of different ages and abilities can participate in the same activity. Additionally, it combines both outdoor and indoor activities. You can also provide the already-pressed flowers to expedite the event. Provide project instructions, and basic materials, including the tools and materials to complete the craft. Depending on the number of people, you could pair experienced participants with beginners or those who require assistance.


Suggested minimum time: 1 hour, if you provide the already pressed flowers.




7. Creative Meeting in a Park or Botanical Garden


This is a wonderful way to take advantage of the company's green areas, if available, or the opportunity to explore parks and gardens in the area.


A study published in 2020 in the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture suggested employers develop group outdoor exercise opportunities (green exercise) for their work teams. This as a practical and cost-effective solution to contribute to workplace well-being goals.


According to the research team, "Those [employees] seeking to restore from high levels of psychological stress (job pressure) or mental fatigue (demands for directed attention over extended periods, such as working on important documentation) are essentially able to reboot through the involuntary attention provided by flora and fauna, and activities associated with them."


A mindful selection of events and outdoor spaces and/or in nature can attract people who don't necessarily enjoy other traditional forms of exercise, such as practicing a specific sport or visiting the gym. Likewise, they consider people with functional diversity.


"As part of an intervention package, 'green exercises' may particularly appeal to 'non-sporty' individuals and those not interested in indoor exercise options," the research, conducted with a group of employees from a company in the UK, justified.


Any simple initiative that involves light exercise activity can help reduce the sedentary time of some team members.


Furthermore, it will improve their attention and partly reduce stress, while enhancing business performance, which, according to the study, will result in a better business model.



Suggested minimum time: 2 hours.


8. Volunteer Brigades in Community Gardens


In community gardens, extra hands are always welcome, especially when there is an established work structure or direction. Donations or direct purchases of the garden's produce also help, but it is during the maintenance or expansion stage for new plantings that volunteers are constantly needed.


Fortunately, through social networks, we can find out where and which organizations might need our collaboration. You don't necessarily have to live in the area to help.


This is an excellent activity to do with family, friends, and even coworkers, as many companies cover their employees' volunteer hours in nonprofit organizations. Coordinate the visit of volunteers in advance; provide participants with information about the tasks that will be performed; details about appropriate clothing and precautions; additional tools and materials to bring. Also, provide snacks for the volunteers, including the garden's management team. People of different ages and abilities can participate in the same activity. It will be necessary to adjust or distribute some of the garden tasks to enhance the participants' experience.



Suggested minimum time: 3 hours.


9. Gardening Classes for Beginners


This is a great opportunity to coordinate a green event for your friends or coworkers interested in learning specific gardening topics or basics about planting. From how to prepare seedbeds, basic pruning for tree maintenance, or how to start a home garden. For example, through special planting events (demonstrative or hands-on), you can offer your team a quick opportunity to connect with nature.


All these events can be adjusted to a virtual mode, favoring employees located in different geographical points.



Suggested minimum time:1 hour.



10. Yoga or Dance Class in a Garden


Either of these activities is excellent for sharing with friends, coworkers, or family. Also, people of different ages and abilities can participate in the same activity. You can do it in your backyard or in a public park. If the company you work for has gardens, schedule ahead of time to reserve the space. Other places may be subject to fees. It is essential to provide participants with instructions on appropriate clothing, as well as adjustments in exercises and/or movements if needed. Before the event, whether at your home or another place, coordinate the cleaning and minimum maintenance of the green space where the activity will be held.


For dancing or practicing yoga, choose the most level area of the garden. A grassy area would be ideal. If possible, select shaded areas to protect from the sun's rays. Make sure to mark the dance floor or space for the yoga mat placement. If it's on grass, you can use chalk to create temporary lines and place pots in each corner. You can also permanently mark the area using tools like a hoe or pickaxe. Remove stones, glass, nails, or other objects in the area. This is especially important if participants are barefoot. Coordinate the professional services of a dance or yoga instructor; and provide water, as well as other snacks like fruits to keep people hydrated.


Suggested minimum time:1 hour.


11. Group Birdwatching


Birdwatching is an activity you can coordinate to do in your backyard, park, or neighborhood garden. Also, people of different ages and abilities can participate in the same activity. Among the benefits of birdwatching are improving mental health, promoting physical activity, fostering appreciation for nature, socializing, and increasing knowledge about birds and their habitat. Provide participants with guides on appropriate clothing and necessary tools or materials to better enjoy the event. Also, share expectations about the tour (duration, potential birds in the area), and instructions on expected behavior. If necessary, coordinate the professional services of an ornithologist or environmental interpreter; provide water, as well as other snacks like fruits to keep people hydrated.



Suggested minimum time:1 hour.


Download this birdwatching activity:

BIRDWATCHING- 15 MINUTES
.pdf
Download PDF • 1.71MB


12. Gathering to Document Nature


People of different ages and abilities can share this activity together. Nature journaling is the practice of drawing or writing about your reactions to nature, whether it's from your home garden or a national forest. The purpose of nature journaling is to capture the moment and remember observations that might otherwise be forgotten over time. In a notebook, participants can document observations from scientific angles that could eventually be of great value to formal scientific projects or other areas of knowledge.


They can also combine their notes with drawings of animals, plants, and/or reflections that describe their mood, circumstances, and specific periods. Provide participants with guides on appropriate clothing and necessary materials to better enjoy the event. Also, share expectations for the journey (special stops, wildlife to observe and then document), and behavior instructions. If necessary, coordinate the services of a professional artist to share with participants tips on how to document through drawing the features of observed plants, animals, and insects; provide water, as well as other refreshments like fruits to keep people hydrated during the activity.



Suggested minimum time: 3 hours.


13. Beekeeping Tour


People of different ages and abilities can share this activity together. During a demonstrative tour with beekeeping professionals, participants will learn about honey production and its benefits. Additionally, they'll understand the role of bees in pollination for fruit and seed production, how to protect bees, and about hive products. Apart from honey, bees produce other valuable products such as beeswax and pollen. These products can be used to make candles, cosmetics, natural medicines, and other useful items. Provide participants with guidelines on appropriate clothing (coordinate with the beekeepers for the necessary uniforms and protection) and other materials to better enjoy the event. Also, share the expectations of the tour and behavior instructions. Ask participants in advance for information about possible bee allergies.


Suggested minimum time: 3 hours.


14. Backyard Movie Night

A great activity to organize in your backyard or in the gardens of your workplace. You could rent a projector and screen to watch a movie or series with family, friends, or colleagues after work. Remember that the content of the projection should be adjusted to the audience. Clean the area where the movie night will take place in advance or book in advance if it's a public or private place. Some of these places may be subject to a fee. Provide participants with details about the movie, guides, and suggestions on appropriate clothing. Also, provide seats, blankets, and cushions for participant comfort, as well as drinks, snacks, bug repellent, and popcorn.



Suggested minimum time: 2 hours.


15. Gathering to Paint Pots and Containers

People of different ages and abilities can share this activity together. Furthermore, this event can be held outdoors or indoors. Participants can paint and personalize reused or new pots with paints and other accessories. Provide the necessary materials and a demonstrative guide of possible designs. Also, provide aprons, gloves, and cleaning materials for after the event.


Suggested minimum time: 3 hours.


Download this handcrafting activity:

PAPERWEIGHT- 30 MINUTES
.pdf
Download PDF • 1.12MB


Vote for your favorite event!

  • 0%Potting Party

  • 0%Group Birdwatching

  • 0%Backyard Movie Night

  • 0%Beekeeping Tour



*For the Spanish version of this article, click here: 15 eventos verdes.


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The author is the founder of Agrochic.com and is certified in Horticultural Therapy by the Chicago Botanic Garden.


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