Mental Health and Nature

This week’s blog was written by Audrey M., a Gobblers alumni. Audrey loves wildlife and would like to make their passion for the outdoors into a career one day! WLA has been a great opportunity for furthering their portfolio. The program has taught them more creative ways to teach others and help the environment. Audrey has started to incorporate wildlife into their art, which brings another part of their personality to their work.

Caring for our mental health has become more prevalent in recent years. It’s common knowledge that doing activities you like, can help improve your wellbeing. Although we often forget that there needs to be time to enjoy life, instead of simply surviving. I’ve noticed that when my mental health isn’t doing well two things help. First working on my art, and second walking in the woods for hours. Often I do both, seeing something in the forests and fields that catch my eye then putting that on paper as a sketch.

Pencil sketch of a salamander
Salamander and witch-hazel sketch.

I love painting my dog, Merlin. He may not be wildlife, but he helps me to look beyond and see the natural world. I’ve noticed coyotes, geese and even just the rolling hills because I went to pet him as he guarded my sheep. Painting what Merlin does helps to put everything into perspective. Although he barked at the coyote because he wanted the sheep to be safe. I began to think of the coyotes’ role in the ecosystem, and how they are essential to keeping their prey’s population healthy.

Painting of a dog protecting sheep in a field
Protector, personal painting of my dog.

I ask that any readers take a few minutes out of your day and journal in some way about a plant or animal you see. It can just be a picture on your phone, but that was also a few minutes spent away from the stresses of modern society. Try to make a habit of watching your bird feeder, or walking through the snow covered woods. It might seem silly or unproductive, but it truly does help.

The photos used in this blog belong to the author.