National Wildlife’s Summer Guide

This summer, make a splash with outdoor activities from gardening to photography to observing wildlife in your own backyard

05-15-2010 // NW Staff

Dad and kids rowing by Laurie Hardwick

This summery image was a past National Wildlife Photo Contest winner.


WE LOVE SUMMER: the longer days, the warmer temperatures, maybe even a vacation from work or school. But in the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to fritter away those languid days inside, in front of a computer or TV screen. Here are some ideas to inspire you to make this summer a memorable one for you and your family:


family reading outdoors by James G March


Research shows that kids who spend time outdoors are healthier, happier and better students. Commit to spending time outside in nature with your family by taking our Be Out There pledge. You'll get a free Summer Survival Guide.

Take a wildlife-viewing trip with NWF’s Expeditions program. Whether you want to go whale-watching in Alaska or see the famous wildlife of the Galápagos Islands, our travel program offers a chance to connect with nature on trips that have been carefully previewed and vetted to receive our stamp of approval.

Whether you’re at home or traveling around the United States, find parks, forests and other nature nearby with our handy NatureFind tool.

Don’t let excuses keep you indoors. Read about 6 common obstacles to going outside—from busy schedules to bugs—and learn how to work around them. If mosquitoes bug you, read up on how to deal with the annoying insects without harming the environment.

For more on how to get your family outside, check out our Outdoors and Family section.





monarchs on milkweed by Lisa A Serda


Plant a garden for wildlife. Or, if you already keep a garden, see if it meets the requirements to become a Certified Wildlife Habitat.

Want a little help in the garden? Wish your children spent more time outside? Here’s some advice on how to get kids growing.

Take sensible steps to conserve water while maintaining a beautiful garden.

Even if your green thumb is getting a little arthritic, you can still enjoy working in the yard; see tips for gardening in your senior years.


For the latest information on how gardening can affect wildlife, the environment and your health, check out our Wildlife Gardening section.



cardinal at feeder by Hazel Erikson 


Attract birds to your yard by offering their favorite—and the most nutritious—foods.  Make sure you provide water, too! Put up a birdhouse for your new avian visitors. And get some tips on keeping squirrels out of your feeder.

Deer in your backyard? Frogs at the local pond? Keep an eye on the wildlife in your neighborhood, then report what you’ve spotted to our Wildlife Watch.

The recent BP oil spill reminds us that this country’s wildlife is not safe from harm. Support animals in the Gulf of Mexico and across North America by working for a safer energy policy. Or, if you can, volunteer your time to support NWF’s efforts in the Gulf.


To learn more about wildlife, visit our Birds and Animals sections.



Girl with camera by Lori J Naanes


One of the best ways to connect with nature is through the lens of our camera. Get tips on photographing everything from summer blooms to animals in motion in our Photography Tips Center.

Share your photos with fellow nature enthusiasts in our Flickr group.

Learn what it takes to get a winning photograph in this how-to video from our editors. Then enter your favorite images in our 40th annual Photo Contest. Looking for inspiration? Check out galleries of last year’s winners and honorable mentions.


For more photography tips and extraordinary images of wildlife and nature, visit our PhotoZone section.


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