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Nurture with Nature

Nurture with Nature

Did you know there are wooded trails to hike on the University of Maryland’s campus? In the northwest corner of campus, across from the Terrapin Trail Garage, lies the Wooded Hillock, a natural area with rustic trails. Volunteer trail stewards scout for litter, rake leaves off the paths, and mark the known trails with fallen logs each season. Covering approximately 13 acres, here you are immersed in trees and fallen leaves, and the traffic on nearby Highway 193 fades to a murmur.

Why is this important? Well, research shows that spending time in your natural environment can support your overall health by boosting mood, lowering stress levels, improving cognitive functioning, enhancing sleep, and encouraging physical activity, among other things. Even our own researchers from UMD and researchers from Cornell have found that as little as ten minutes in nature has measurable impacts on mental health.

In a close partnership with the University Health Center's Health Promotion & Wellness Services unit, Nurture with Nature hikes are offered throughout the year as an opportunity to experience the benefits of nature, ground ourselves in the outdoors away from the fast pace of our lives, and be in community with each other and the natural world. 

These guided hikes encourage participants to be present in the moment by tuning in to the five senses. This low-impact hike starts at the Community Learning Garden, will cross Campus Creek, and then explore the Wooded Hillock. Participants will be strongly encouraged to silence and put away devices during this program so all participants can experience uninterrupted time outdoors.

At first glance, the Wooded Hillock may seem bare, but taking a more mindful approach to hiking the trails, pausing often to push back leaves, looking up into the canopy layer, and not rushing through the hike can provide a peek into the biodiversity present in this place. Wooded areas like these are key to offering a habitat for a wide variety of animals, insects, and plants and creating a building block in the University’s effort to be a sustainable campus. 

Join us for a guided group experience, or explore on your own, keeping in mind the information below. 

Know Before You Go

Please be respectful to the many plants, animals, insects, and people who enjoy this space. Borrowing a line from the National Park Service: take only pictures, leave only footprints. We encourage you to tag us @umdabg if you post to social media!

Remove any trash you bring with you, or pay it forward by picking up and properly disposing of trash you see. 

Poison ivy and plants with thorns may be present on the Wooded Hillock, which will cause skin irritation if touched. 

Ticks may be present from March - November. Stay on groomed trails and check for ticks after your walk. The US Center for Disease Control has excellent information on best practices:

Consider bringing insect repellent, sunscreen, water, and a journal if you wish. 


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