What would you do with an extra 33 hours in your week? Maybe cook more? Spend more time with your family and friends? Get outside more? If we all dropped our television habit, we'd have the time! It’s no joke, folks. This is Katrina Moyna with the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre in Marquette, Iowa, bringing you your weekly nature programming, and I’m here to tell you about some fun outdoor activities to try, even in the dead of winter.
"Children ages 2-11 watch over 24 hours of TV per week, while adults ages 35-49 watch more than 33 hours", according to data from Nielsen. "The average American watches more than five hours of live television every day. We watch a lot of television while we’re young and mostly at home. Our viewership drops when we hit our teen years and start to develop more outside interests. But after that our viewing then rises in pretty much a straight line for the rest of our lives” (nydailynews). Here are some tips as to how to spend that extra 33 hours per week you’ve suddenly gained if you decide to ditch the habit.
Winter Camping…Yes, folks, we have a new phenomenon on our hands. More are journeying outside to experience the Great Outdoors in the coldest of temps. For those less inclined to brave the extreme elements, you can XC ski and snowshoe around the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre, once we get more snow. Our snowshoeing lessons have been rescheduled for a colder, snowier day, and we will have a Snow Day for Kids on Saturday, January 17 from 1:00 – 3:00pm, instead. The Osborne Nature Center also has trails open to the public and snowshoes you can rent at just $5.00 per day.
Perhaps you've heard of silo climbing? Popular in the middle of the state, there’s a well-known silo you can climb in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Wisconsin hosts dog sled races. There’s always ice fishing and hunting on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge, which offers free recreational activities on its public lands, including hiking.
For those less inclined to venturing outside, you can always rig a bird feeder or feed other wildlife, such as deer. You’d be surprised at the diversity of wildlife right outside your back door! (although it is illegal to bait wildlife with the intention of hunting them). And remember, the deer you attract may come around in springtime when your garden is in full bloom! Or stuff those mounts or hang antlers that have been gathering dust in your garage, and check out our Pinterest page to find some wildlife recipes!
Effigy Mounds National Monument has an indoor film festival showing on Saturdays-Mondays from January – March at various times. Check out them out online or give them a call for show times. Keep an eye out for signs of hypothermia, frostbite, and dehydration. Always hike with a partner, limit exposure time according to conditions and your abilities, do your research, and have proper equipment.
Upcoming events at the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre include a MovieMania showing of: “The Lorax” on Saturday, January 24 from 6:00 – 7:30pm. Kids on Canvas will be hold on Wednesday, January 28 from 6:00-8:00pm. Please RSVP as we need at least 10 participants to hold the Kids on Canvas event.
The Driftless Area Wetlands Centre is open from 11:00 – 4:00, Tuesdays – Saturdays, year-round. We are maintained by the City of Marquette, grants, and donations. We always have lots going on, so check us out on our Facebook page, our website, or call us at (563) 873-3537.
Enjoy the Outdoors! It’s always free!
Photo: A volunteer helps a young girl makes birdseed hearts at a Driftless Area Wetlands Centre event.