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News and Resources

Resolutions for a healthier you--and world - December 22, 2011

Nearly everyone resolves to make changes in the New Year. Please consider our bays and your quality of life when making your New Year's resolutions for 2012.

As 2011 draws to a close, and we ring in the New Year, join us. Resolve to make some changes. Exercise, fitness and health are often at the top of New Year's resolution lists. Sure, you could join a gym, but you can also plan to exercise more outdoors. Did you know that spending time outside can improve not only your physical health, but can also reduce stress? We could all benefit from a little less stress.

Unstructured, outdoor play can significantly improve physical, social, emotional and cognitive development in children. Studies show that children who play outside also exhibit increased creativity. So, take a kid outside. Make mudpies. Jump in puddles. Catch a toad. Chase a firefly. Go fishing.

Take a walk, not on paved ground, but through the wintry woods. Hike, breathe deeply, and soak in the natural sights, smells, and sounds that surround you. Find solace in nature.

Ride a bike along a winding back road. Enjoy the colors and textures of our rural landscape.

Roll in the grass, run on the beach, lie in the sun, dip your toes in our bays.

Glide atop the coastal bays in a kayak or canoe, powered by your own strength. Take your binoculars and a field guide. Maybe you'll discover something new. Overwintering waterfowl are abundant and spectacular.

Eat some locally-grown, locally-harvested food. Savor every bite. Grow some of your own food -- even if it's just a few fresh herbs to toss into your favorite salad or pasta dish. Help local students install a garden at school, or work to amend their schoolyard to provide habitat for native butterflies.

What else can you do?

Change out a lightbulb (or several), and upgrade to compact fluorescent, a more energy-efficient alternative. Stop using plastic bags at the grocery store. Just stop. Keep extra reusable bags in the trunk of your car, just to make sure you don't forget them when you make a quick trip to the store.

When the snow thaws and spring comes, let your grass grow a little longer and plant some native plants in your yard. Install a raingarden or a rain barrel.

By doing so, you will help improve the quality of our air, our water, and habitat for local wildlife. You've heard it all before.

Recycle, conserve where you can, reduce consumption, and yes, turn off the water when you brush your teeth. It really does help -- and it is an easy commitment to make, and keep.

You can also support some of your favorite environmental nonprofits -- through memberships, donations, sponsorships or volunteerism. Every little bit helps. Every one of us can have a positive impact. Resolve to make a change.

What do you envision for the New Year? We hope you plan to celebrate our rich coastal bays, and the diversity of life they support -- plants, animals, and people.

Healthier people, healthier communities, healthier bays. That's what the Maryland Coastal Bays Program envisions for 2012. We need your help to realize that vision. Contact us at mcbp@mdcoastal

Samis is the MCBP education coordinator

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