Nature Goals 2021
New Goals for 2021 and a Reflection on my 2020 Goals
Setting nature study goals each year has been a powerful tool in my life. Creating specific goals keeps you focused and then periodically reviewing the goals allows you to see what you’ve accomplished and how to further reach your goals by breaking the larger goals down into smaller bits. A few things have helped me be successful and I thought you might like to hear about those tips as you perhaps think about making your own nature study goals for 2021.
First of all, don’t think of things you didn’t accomplish as “failures”. Maybe the timing wasn’t right for working on a particular goal. I’m thinking specifically of one of my 2020 goals to visit a new national park. I could not have anticipated the impact of a worldwide pandemic when I wrote that goal. Find a way to be flexible if you find you can’t achieve your original goal. We decided to build a “campsite” in our backyard where we could sleep outside whenever we felt like it. Some may call it “glamping”, but it really did fill the need to be outside in nature at night.
Review Your Goals Periodically
Another tip to achieving your nature study goals is to look at them periodically to see which ones can be added to your planner. I keep a weekly/monthly planner and I can add reminders to work at a goal. Can we go for a hike this week? Are we counting birds for Project Feederwatch this week? Do we need to get to the library to gather books for research and planning? Keep an eye on nature study goals as you go along.
Break Larger Goals into Smaller Steps
Breaking larger goals down into bite size pieces is also necessary to achieve more substantial nature study goals. For instance, planning a camping trip will involve some pre-planning. Deciding on a destination, reading about the habitat, making required reservations, gathering equipment, and blocking out time on the calendar are all steps that can be done to accomplish the larger goal of going camping.
We achieved our rather large 2020 goal to build a backyard habitat for wildlife by following this tip. Sometimes it is the largeness of a goal that keeps us from reaching it. You can read the first installment in my series to see our first steps: Creating a Wildlife Habitat.
Make a Reasonable List
I also suggest keeping your goal list to a manageable size. It is easy to want to include a lot of great goals but as you start your list of goals, keep it simple. If you are just starting out with nature study, your goal list may only have a couple of items. You can always add things later in the year!
Create Achievable Goals – Don’t be too ambitious!
Another mistake I made in years past is to overestimate my long haul interest in a topic. For instance, one year I made the goal to learn about and then find in real life every rock in a particular book. Wow! That was hugely ambitious and would have taken a miracle to accomplish. We did manage to complete the study of quite a few rocks from the book but my interest really did wane after a few months. A more reasonable goal would have been to “learn more about the rocks in my local habitat”.
I hope you are encouraged to create your own nature study goals after reading my tips. My main message is to make sure you create a list that helps you with your own interests and supports your family getting outdoors to learn more about your own particular habitat.
So, without further ado, here is my list for the upcoming year.
Nature Study Goals – 2021
Nature Journal Goals: I’m trying out a different format this year for my daily nature journal notes. I’m anxious to share this with you so watch for it in upcoming posts. I’m also testing out some ideas for the Member’s Library that includes a perpetual nature journal using notebook pages I’ve designed. It’s most definitely a work in progress and I’ll be adding them to the Member’s Library after seeing which style works best for me.
- Backyard Habitat development: We’re going to keep adding to the wildlife garden we started last year and hopefully add some more beneficial elements that are practical and beautiful in our Central Oregon climate.
- Local Hikes: I’m determined to try to find places to hike in all seasons.
- Make notes in field guides: This is a project I started last year and I think it’s just a part of what I do now with my field guides.
- Project Feederwatch and Great Backyard Bird Count: We are in the middle of the Project Feederwatch season already and it brings us such joy to see our backyard birds come each day.
- Go camping: We have a new, much smaller travel trailer now and this opens up some of the more rugged campsites in our area. We can be completely off grid and get out into the forest much easier. We’ve already mapped out some places we want to go explore. Even with COVID restrictions, we should be able to get outside and camp this summer.
- Learn about succulents: I’ve developed a love for succulents. The amazing variety and the beautiful colors and shapes have captured my heart. I became aware this year of the flowers that succulents have that I overlooked. So joyfully, right now my succulents are covered in snow and ice but I know that next summer they will again treat me to a colorful display. I have a great desire to learn more!
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