small measures with ashley: earth day outings

It was during a visit to my mom’s house this past Saturday that I saw the photo. I don’t have any recollection of viewing this particular image before, but there it was. On full display, for all the family gathered to bear witness, was irrefutable proof that since quite a young age, I’ve been a tree-hugger. Clad in denim overalls, the photo showed me at probably age 7 or 8 clinging tightly (legs and all) to a tall pine tree in a forest visited long ago.

Today is Earth Day, and I’m proud to be the same tree-hugger I’ve been since that fateful photo. When I thought about what I’d like to post on Design*Sponge to honor this holiday, all I could think about was being outdoors. So today’s Small Measures with Ashley is about that very thing — exploring our verdant planet. Following are a number of suggestions for outdoor forays that will, hopefully, prompt you to do all you can to care for our shared home. Nothing like romping around in it to make you want to exercise stewardship of it, right? Be forewarned, though. These jaunts just might make a tree-hugger out of you, too! — Ashley

CLICK HERE for 25 things to do in the great outdoors!

Here are 25 of my favorite Earth-loving, Earth-appreciating activities to do whilst in the great outdoors:

1. Extended patio brunching (the photos in this post are from this very activity, taken around our property by my buddy Rene Treece Roberts on Wednesday)

2. Wild-food walks (“Wildman” Steve Brill even does forays in New York’s five boroughs!)

3. Mushroom identification walks

4. Star gazing

5. Bird watching

6. Neighborhood plant identification walks

6. Botanical garden walks

8. Japanese garden walks

9. National park visits

10. Tree identification walks

11. Hot springs soaking

12. Tidal pool viewings

13. Herbal wildcrafting

14. Creek swimming

15. Camping (here’s a post I did last year on how to camp “lite“)

16. Leisurely picnicking (the Nature Conservancy is hosting an Earth Day “Picnic for the Planet” around the world; find out more info. on activities and meet-ups in your area here)

17. Firefly watching

18. Wild-berry picking

19. Mountain hiking

20. River tubing

21. Forest strolls

22. Thunderstorm viewings

23. Snowfall watching

24. Raindrop listening

25. Seashell gathering

The way I see it, what better way to inspire ourselves to treat every day like Earth Day than being actively involved with, well, the earth? What about you? What’s your most beloved way of enjoying this big blue-green orb we’re all floating around on? I’d love to hear! Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a huge forest outside my window, begging to be hugged.


This can also be called a list of my 25 favorite things … what a great list! and gorgeous photos. Happy earth day!


Gardening is my favorite way of enjoying the outdoors. I do lots of the things on that list, but there is nothing like nurturing a plant to life.


skiing! nothing better than standing on top of a mountain. nothing.

Forever Lovely

Beautiful! I love spending time outdoors. Just being outside and soaking up the sun and the beauty of nature is my favorite thing :)

Ecosa Institute

Always our favorite series on Design Sponge! Happy Earth Day everyone from all of us at the Ecosa Institute of Sustianable Design!

Eva @ Four Leaf Clover

Happy Earth Day! I felt the same way when writing my blog post today.. our Earth really should be celebrated every day and we should be out and enjoying it as much as possible!


I always laugh when I see someone use the iphone app to take photos… it’s such a cop out!

especially when this person claims to be a photographer.

ashley english

s-rene used her phone to take photos because i asked her to. she was over for brunch and i thought some photos would be fun. she didn’t come over expressly to take photos. she is quite an accomplished and in-demand photographer, as the above link to her site indicates.


those are the most beautiful pictures i have seen! the greeeeenn is soo refreshing! :)