Back to Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - June 19, 2008)
The buzz in my neighborhood is all about rising gas prices and the effects the cost
of gas is having on everything from food to fashion.
|Building a backyard water
garden attracts wildlife while providing hours of tranquil
Neighbors, co-workers and friends are busily discussing their latest home
improvement projects such as: building homemade backyard arbors, decks and sunrooms
complete with bubbling fountains, fireplaces, grills, hydroponic gardens, outdoor
fans, water lily and Koi ponds, wet bars, balcony grills, and the ultimate outdoor
additions: stereo systems, WiFi, spas and big screen televisions. This may appear
extravagant during these lean times of 2008, but as an alternative this kind of
pioneer spirit and mentality is quite sensible. The budget allotted for the average
family vacation can not be stretched any further. Families are choosing to stay
closer to home.
As I write this weeks column the latest price for a gallon of regular
unleaded gasoline is $3.96 in the Tampa Bay area. Yesterday when I visited the
pumps it cost me more than $70.00 to fill the tank of my six cylinder minivan.
Its not affordable to drive anywhere that is not absolutely necessary.
Families are choosing to build their own vacation destinations right in their very
own backyards rather than burn hundreds of dollars driving to distant vacation
As well, colleagues are getting back to planting their own vegetable gardens, herb
gardens, butterfly gardens, researching solar panels, and taking buses rather than
driving. The Hillsborough Area Rapid Transit reports: Weekday ridership on
both HART local routes and Commuter Express service has grown about 10 percent."
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority reports an all time high of 1,056,856
rides were taken on agency buses an increase of 11 percent." Its not about
tightening our belts anymore; its all about alternatives and solutions.
Vacation alternatives just beyond our backyards:
- Obvious choice: Taking advantage of Tampa Bays award winning beaches.
- Get out. Go canoeing or kayaking at any of Tampa Bays many bayous, lakes
- Sailing and ocean kayaking offers people powerful adventure.
- Tubing down a cold fresh water stream.
- Camping at nearby State or National parks such as: Myakka River State Park
Sarasota, Fla. 941-361-6511 and Hillsborough River State Park
North Thonotosassa, Fla. 813-987-6771.
- Bicycling: Tourists travel thousands of miles to take advantage of Tampa
Bays beautiful bike trails such as: the 34-mile long Pinellas Trail and the
41.3 miles/non-motorized paved Suncoast Trail throughout Hillsborough, Pasco,
Hernando counties . . . cost is free! As well, as you travel to your ultimate
destination you can board the buses with your bike. Check out the Bikes on
Buses" programs. Pinellas: www.psta.net/bikesonbuses. Hillsborough: www.hartline.org
For the children:
- Libraries, museums and recreation centers offer a wide variety of programs
throughout the summer.
- Try your hand at building a bird or bat house. This offers children an
educational experience about nature found in their very own backyards.
- Or better yet, plan a campout in your own back yard. Join thousands of
neighbors, friends, and families across the country for National Wildlife
Foundations fourth annual Great American Backyard Campout Saturday, June
Ultimately staying near home saves valuable dollars and fuels our own local
economy while bringing Floridians closer to home ... back to nature.
Karen can be reached at MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com.