Voices of Webster: Op-ed: Nature improves student’s quality of life

Lily Naert
Contributing Writer

640px-Gfp-missouri-taum-sauk-state-park-watchtower Public Domain
Taum Sauk Mountain State Park is an 11.7-square-mile (30 km2) state park in the Missouri Ozards adjacent to John’s Shut-ins State Park. The park contains Missouri’s High A watchtower at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. Public Domain photo from Wikimedia Commons

With spring around the corner, and as the weather begins to warm up, students should make an effort to spend time outdoors and explore some of Missouri’s beautiful state parks.

Studies have shown that being outdoors improves mental health. Since the pandemic began, it’s become common to spend more time outdoors; this is also true for students. The outdoors helps boost mood, lower stress and increase attention levels. All of these benefits can help students deal with and complete their schoolwork.

“I love being outside when it’s nice outside because it puts me in a better mood. When teachers let us go outside during class it makes school much more enjoyable,” sophomore Isabella Dyson said.

“Me too, it’s a change from sitting in the same classroom every day and allows me to focus more,” sophomore Maggie Lodes added.

Last year, Missouri state parks recorded some of their highest attendance numbers in years, over 22.5 million, according to an article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch, written by Jack Suntrup.

“Visitors flocked to Missouri State Parks in record numbers in 2021, continuing a pandemic-fueled return-to-the-outdoors trend that officials don’t expect to end anytime soon,” Suntrup said.

It’s important to support Missouri state parks because they share the state’s beautiful natural environment and show the state’s history. Parks are important for maintaining ecological biodiversity, and they are free from human interference because the state controls these areas.

Some of the most popular parks in the state to support are Route 66 State Park, Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Johnson’s Shut-ins State Park and Castlewood State Park.

There are many ways to support state parks like sending in donations, recommending them to friends and family and even something as simple as reducing carbon footprint by recycling or using less energy. There are endless possibilities for outdoor activities, and many of these activities immensely improve the quality of life.

This week’s ECHO Podcast is introduced, outro’d and edited by podcast editor Maren DeMargel and contributing writer Riley Fitzgerald.

Contributing writer Riley Fitzgerald talks to students and parents about Spring Break plans.

Intro music from https://filmmusic.io
Beauty Flow” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

“Crowd Cheering” sound effect and “Glow in the Dark” background music are from PacDV.com.

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