As we move into the new year, the BGV Sustainability team has been reflecting on the many accomplishments of 2023 and setting our sights on the ambitious goals ahead. 2023 was another successful year marked by incremental improvements and achievements across all departments and properties. Like any good New Year’s Resolution, small steps add up […]

How often do you take a few minutes to really take in the natural world around you? Do you ever just look at the clouds or watch the plants blow in the wind? Really take a second to think about that. Living in Summit County, we have the luxury of having access to a number of national forest access points. So many of us play outside whether that’s by walking our dogs, skinning at the crack of the dawn, or walking to work…but I’m willing to bet that most of us pass right by without absorbing the beauty in our surroundings.

Today, we are going to talk about the benefits of being in nature. There are many different ways you can be present while in the wild – you can lay back and watch the clouds, you can sit and meditate, you can even just stare up into the trees for a while. All of these activities have been proven to elevate your mood and lower stress. Even just having a tree to look at our your office window has shown to increase productivity and happiness in the work place. Being in nature has been so beneficial to your health, the Japanese actually have a word for it – Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing).

In 2020, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published an article on forest bathing as an approach to improving mindfulness and psychological well-being in participants. They discovered a “significant positive correlation between nature, mindfulness, and measures of psychological well-being” when practicing forest bathing.

Forest bathing is designed to invoke all the senses – smelling the flowers, hearing the birds or trees rustle, seeing the plants and animals, and feeling the textures of nature. Trees and other plants capture dirty air and turn it into good air, so each time you escape into the woods, you’re breathing cleaner air. Taking a walk in nature also helps you build a relationship and respect for nature. By creating a connection with the outdoors, you are more likely to want to protect it. Folks who have a greater understanding of the natural world are more inclined to volunteer for a conservation project or donate to a local cause.

You can participate in your locations Wellness Walk to start your nature journey. You can also do this on your own. Next time you have the chance, stop and look up. Put your phone down. Take your earbuds out. Look around. Take note of what you see, feel, hear, and smell. Take a deep breath. Reconnect with the natural world around you.  I promise you’ll feel a little less stressed!

If you’re interested in learning more about other ways nature has an effect on us and our wellbeing, check out these resources:

The City Dark film

Treehugger Blog

Plant Blindness research

The Nature Fix book

She Explores podcast

The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and feasting. On the flip side, the holiday season is also a season of excess waste. Americans produce 25% more waste during this time of year, which is approximately 45 pounds per person per week! The packaging, containers, shipping, and gifts contribute to the substantial impact […]

We had a very successful turnout for our Sustainable Picnic Challenge! There were 98 different groups or families who brought their own items, with 229 reusable items total! This number includes plates, bowls, knives and forks, cloth napkins, frisbees, Tupperware, bare hands, chopsticks, etc. Everyone got creative!

The winners of our Sustainable Picnic Challenge raffle were:

Robin Dew – Nalgene, bamboo cutlery set, Stasher bag
Marina Carpio – Blue Planet sunglasses, Luci solar inflatable and phone charger, thermos
Gabrielle Abell – thermos, succulent garden
Clair Anicito – Eco mess kit and thermos
Andy Carver – Blue Planet sunglasses and succulent garden
Julianna Nopson – plastic free, organic soap, shampoo and conditioner set, snake plant

Big shoutout to everyone who participated! You’re helping us reach our company wide goal of 80% waste diversion by 2030!

Speaking of waste diversion goals, thanks to everyone’s participation, check out our diversion rates from the picnic and the RAM Walk…(the animal weights are based on an average)

Picnic Diversion – 91%

– 37.5 pounds of compost (weight of a gazelle)
– 90 pounds of glass (weight of a chimpanzee)
– 44.2 pounds of recycling (aluminum cans, plastic bottles) (weight of a lynx)
– 21.1 pounds of trash (weight of a spider monkey)
– 54.8 pounds of teracycle (plates, cups, knives and forks) (weight of a female gray wolf)

RAM Diversion – 79%

– 75 pounds of compost (weight of striped hyena)
– 30 pounds of glass (weight of a wolverine)
– 780 pounds of recycling (weight of a moose)
– 250 pounds of trash (weight of a lowland gorilla)
– 57 pounds of teracycle (plates, cups, knives and forks) (weight of a Western Grey kangaroo)
– 4 pounds of scrap metal (wire hangers) (weight of a possum)
– 2 pounds of plastic bag waste (ice bags, shrink wrap, etc.) (weight of an armadillo)

A big thank you to everyone who worked the Zero Waste Stations. These amazing diversion rates would not be possible without you keeping us all in check with our waste! We look forward to challenging you all to another Sustainable Picnic Challenge next year!