Hanging out with the bears 

by Holly Anderson  Isn’t it the best season of the year? There are so many flowers, birds and green plants. […]

Holly Anderson - Access Press Executive Director head shot

by Holly Anderson 

Isn’t it the best season of the year? There are so many flowers, birds and green plants. That natural Vitamin D almost makes me giddy. In a few weeks, I’ll be getting my knee replaced and will have limited mobility for some time. This is why I was so interested in exploring how you can take advantage of the outdoors from the comfort of your home. 

Wonder what’s going on up north? There are numerous web cams offered by the MN Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR). In the mood to watch a nesting eagle or wood duck? Or are you more likely to watch the wolves or bears? Whatever you choose is just a click away. At the Minnesota ADA Celebration event you will see a compilation of the various cams. Believe me, they will make you smile. Sometimes it’s just a sleeping bear and other times it seems they are performing for the camera. If you are not as enamored by animals, check out humans at the headwaters of the Mississippi. It’s like you’re there sans mosquitos! 

Another way to experience nature in your home is through an app called Picture This. The app uses the camera on your phone to help you identify plants. If you are a houseplant killer like me, it will also diagnose what might be wrong with the plant. I was in my garden and spent an hour trying to figure out what was a weed and what was supposed to be there. Every time I pictured a plant that I thought was a weed, it would be great for butterflies or bees. I only got rid of the old dandelions and left everything else. I like apps that make chores easy. 

There is also a Picture This app that will identify birds. They let you have it for free for seven days and then there’s a yearly fee. You can take a picture from your window and the app will identify the bird. Or record a bird call and learn what it is. Later, you can show off your new bird vocabulary with your housemates or friends, and say, “The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is at the feeder.” 

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to check these out for distraction while I’m laid up. You can eat or nap with the wolves and bears. Check out the fish cam, hang out in an eagle’s nest and watch a duck keep her babies quiet. Also, the DNR website has an amazing amount of information. Fun fact: There are 444 native Minnesota bird types. I’m going to see if I can find them through my window! 

The apps are available on Android and Apple devices. You can visit the DNR Cams at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/features/webcams/index.html

Wolf cams are brought to us by the International Wolf Center in Ely. They have wolf cub cams here: https://wolf.org/meet-our-wolves/wolf-cams2/wolf-pup-cams/ 

Holly Anderson is executive director of Access Press and a member of the committee planning this year’s ADA celebration.