This Year We Will #RecreateResponsibly
For the past five years, Willamette Partnership has joined REI in its #OptOutside movement. #OptOutside, originally envisioned as an alternative to Black Friday shopping, helped us prioritize being in nature with friends and family, for our physical and mental health, the day after Thanksgiving.
However, this year is different. In the face of COVID-19, the Partnership has been taking the health and safety of our staff, families, and communities more seriously than ever. We’ve been working from home since March, practicing social distancing, and following CDC guidelines. Like REI, we’re finding safer ways to get outdoors, too, so this year, we will follow REI’s lead and #RecreateResponsibly.
Our staff still plan to spend time outside this November 27th, but we’ll be staying close to home, practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, and planning ahead for the health of ourselves and those around us.
Being outdoors is so important for your physical and mental health and is something we are working hard to make more accessible to everyone. “With the change in weather there’s not as much sunshine. A lot of people have seasonal affective disorder. A lot of us are going to be on our screens at home most of the day and so having those little breaks during the day, especially in winter, is really important as a proactive measure to make sure you’re keeping your mental health sharp,” said Barton Robison, Partner, Health & Nature in a recent interview with KATU News.
To #RecreateResponsibly, follow these 7 simple guidelines that REI and a coalition of partners recommend:
- Know Before You Go
- Check that the place you hope to visit is open and available. If it’s too crowded to safely practice social distancing, what’s your back-up plan?
- Plan Ahead
- Pack food, bring water, your mask, hand sanitizer, and plan for public facilities like restrooms to be closed.
- Explore Locally
- Stay within your neighborhood or town. There are lots of public and accessible trails, parks, and open spaces that are right around the corner to safely explore!
- Practice Physical Distancing
- Keep your group small, follow guidelines in place by your state or local jurisdictions, and be respectful of other’s space.
- Play It Safe
- Keep your activity safe and low-risk. Healthcare resources are already stressed due to COVID-19.
- Leave No Trace
- Pack out what you take in! Respect the land you are on and be mindful of your impact on the space.
- Build An Inclusive Outdoors
- Be active in making the outdoors safe and welcoming for everyone, of all identities and abilities.
We hope you have a safe and happy holiday season this year. Reach out, tell us how you’re adjusting your plans this year, and share the #RecreateResponsibly guidelines.
The Willamette Partnership Team