Canberra is great this time of year. Blue skies, the days are getting warmer but the mornings are still crisp, and everything is in bloom. A wonderful time to be living in the bush capital.
We all know being outside makes us feel better but it can also make us better.
Research from the University of East Anglia revealed that exposure to green space reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure.
Populations with higher levels of green space exposure were also more likely to report good overall health - according to global data involving more than 290 million people which included Australia.
Lead author Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett said she hoped the research would inspire people to get outside more and feel the health benefits for themselves.
"Hopefully our results will encourage policymakers and town planners to invest in the creation, regeneration, and maintenance of parks and green spaces, particularly in urban residential areas and deprived communities that could benefit the most," she said.
So that said, here's five ways to feel closer to nature in the bush capital.
Those of us of a certain age are done with indoor plants. We have children to keep alive now. We kept a maidenhair fern alive in our university dorm rooms and that was enough. But it appears millennials love them.
The Jungle Collective returns to Canberra on September 28 for another indoor plant party, Springtime Splendour. The first event in February was a great success, so head to The Fitter's Workshop in Kingston to get green.
There's no excuse for not planting something you can eat. Whether it be some herbs in a pot on your kitchen bench, or a full blown farm in your backyard. Don't have the space? Why not join a community garden. You'll get your plot and meet some interesting people along the way.
The Canberra Organic Growers Society operates 12 different gardens throughout the ACT at Charnwood, Cook, Cotter, Dickson, Erindale, Holder, Kaleen, Kambah, Mitchell, Oaks Estate and O'Connor. And there are plenty of other organisations running gardens.
We like the look of The Dirty Beanstalk on the rooftop of the ANU Lena Karmel Unilodge. Check it out.
The UAE research identified "green space" as open, undeveloped land with natural vegetation as well as urban green spaces, which included urban parks and street greenery. How's your neighbourhood?
Make a point of noticing things in your own street. A tree in your yard, a neighbour's flowers, share your lawn with the kids next door. Noticing seasonal changes cements the idea of home.
The Centenary Trail has been around for a few years now but how many of the 145km have you walked? It really is a great way to take in our city and surrounds, as it winds between the city and the bush. It follows fire trails, walking tracks and shared paths in urban and natural areas and is open to everyone, according to the ACT government.
The website says the trail is designed for "low intensity" use by all walkers and cyclists of moderate ability. I like the idea of low intensity. Sometimes nature needs to be absorbed, and not rushed.
Map it out
When I found this weird looking larvae thing in my yard once I asked my cluey science friends what it was. One of them suggested posting it on the Canberra Nature Map. It's as clever as my science friends.
Set up in 2014 with the idea of simply recording the location of the Canberra Spider Orchid, it has now grown to include more than 4000 species of flora and fauna in the Canberra region.
It has more than 1000 members and experts who moderate. It's educational and fun. canberra.naturemapr.org