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Best practices for interacting with nature in Indy

Help keep Indy’s landscapes and wildlife healthy and beautiful with these pro tips.

INDYtoday: INDY_Fort Harrison hiking forest_SEPT23

Staying on the beaten path typically sounds boring — but when exploring nature, it’s critical to stick to marked trails to protect our wildlife.

Photo by INDYtoday team

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It’s no secret that locals + visitors alike love Indy’s vibrant outdoor scene. From green spaces within the city to forests and rivers to explore nearby, there’s no shortage of ways to connect with nature in the Circle City.

We want to help maintain these spaces and, when possible, leave them better than we found them. In honor of National Public Lands Day this Saturday, Sept. 23, here are some best practices to keep in mind when interacting with the earth around us.

Leave every stone unturned

We’ve all seen the aesthetic rock-stacking photos, but moving rocks can destroy important habitats and displace fish + aquatic invertebrates. Listen to the Indianapolis Zoo’s advice — skip the photo op and leave the rocks in place to protective sensitive species.

Pick up trash

This one’s easy, but if you come across some trash while out on your nature adventure, pick it up. Same goes for our neighborhoods; if you really want to keep the streets clean for both aesthetic purposes and residential wildlife health, you can partner up with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful to organize a cleanup.

Ditch the single-use plastic

On your next Indy outdoor adventure, bring your water + snacks in reusable containers. Single-use plastic water bottles or bags that end up in our waterways introduce pollutants and microplastics that are damaging to the environment. Check out The Shop’s variety of water bottles to rep your Hoosier pride.

Stay on the trail

When you head out on your next hike, make sure to stay on clearly marked trails to help keep the areas off-trail preserved. Apply the “leave no trace” principle to help make conscious decisions that serve to lessen our impact on nature.

INDYtoday: INDY_swans hiking lake_SEPT23

Believe it or not, swans and ducks don’t need your bread. You can still take photos from a distance while letting them maintain their natural diet.

Photo by the INDYtoday team

Don’t feed wildlife

Feeding wildlife can cause them to suffer nutritionally or become dependent on unreliable food sources. It’s best to leave our furry and finned friends alone, and instead stop by the Eagle Creek Park Earth Discovery Center to learn about + get up close and personal with Indiana’s native wildlife.

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