Over the holidays I was admiring the photos in the Montana Outdoors magazine. All of the photos are amazingly beautiful. There are photos of elk and foxes at play, birds in flight, fish swimming, wildflowers in bloom and reflections of nature throughout Montana. The one photo that really stuck out to me was the centerfold photo taken by Alex Badyaev. The title is “Deer mouse atop a gigantic puffball mushroom at moonrise, Upsata Lake, Blackfoot Valley.” The photographer captured an image of a mouse standing on its hind legs looking out from its perch atop the mushroom. For me it was a good reminder of how important it is to appreciate the beauty of nature around us.

Whenever I visit Montana I never have to look far to find interesting and beautiful sights.  But you don’t have to go to Montana to appreciate nature. It is all around us. It may be the sun glistening on the frosty crystals of snow or the squirrel hanging upside down on the bird feeder or the sparkling raindrop on the window sill or the dark stormy clouds in the sky.  We are surrounded by amazing and beautiful things.  If you look, you will find them.

The choices we make each day impact the land, air and water around us. Making small changes can make a big difference. A simple thing to do is to take a water bottle with you when you travel and fill it up along the way. If you do use plastic bottles, be sure to recycle the bottles. The simple act of recycling plastic reduces the energy needed to make new plastic products since producing new plastic products from recycled materials uses 2/3 less energy than making products from virgin materials.

As you are sitting inside and away from the below freezing temperatures or the snow or the rain, look out the window to see the beauty around you. Beauty can be found in many places. As you look at those cattle grazing in the field or those geese in the park, think about what you can do to protect your environment.  Each one of us can make a difference.

Please share your photos and ideas for how you are making a difference.  Happy Holidays!

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