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Passport to Nature

Healthy You, Healthy Planet

“Lace up your running shoes, join me outside — 5:30 wake-up call is optional — and run with Team Nature today." —Kate Hougen

By Kate Hougen

I didn’t always run. High school track? No way. Jogging around my college campus? Once in a blue moon.

It wasn’t until I started working at The Nature Conservancy that I took up running as a regular pastime. In part, I wanted to stay healthy, but also set aside time every day for reflection.

Today, as a working mother, I’m very protective of my time, especially the time I devote to my two young children. Juggling a career, too, means that, if I want to run, I head out every morning at 5:30. It wasn’t easy at first, but guess what? One of the best parts of my day is — you got it — 5:30 a.m.

Few cars are on the road, and neighborhoods are quiet thanks to still-sleeping houses. Many days, I get to catch the sunrise. Birds whistle out their morning wake-up calls. And perhaps best of all, I’ve discovered a world of intricate details that nature and the changing seasons provide — details I might otherwise miss.

Running with a Mission

A colleague recently told me that to support the Conservancy’s mission is to be part of a “pragmatic force for change … for a cleaner and healthier world.” A group that gets it done. Today, I’m excited to have the opportunity to share that mission with others via my passion for running.

The Nature Conservancy recently joined forces with the local running store Pacers. We’re working together to raise awareness and funds to make a real difference in places we care about, places like the Chesapeake Bay.

Did you know that for every dollar raised, the Conservancy can plant five oysters in the Chesapeake Bay? Now imagine the difference 100,000 oysters would make. Every step we run toward our goal of raising $20,000 by Earth Day 2012 brings us one step closer to a cleaner and healthier bay.

Join Team Nature Today

Well, what are you waiting for? Your health and the health of our planet are on the line — or in this case, at the finish line.

So lace up your running shoes, join me outside — 5:30 wake-up call is optional — and run with Team Nature today. Your friends and family can support you, too. Just ask them to sponsor you or any fellow Team Nature runner for a race, or even for a mile or two.

You can also share stories and tips with other green runners on our local Facebook page. (What bird did you hear out on the trail, or where’s your favorite place to run and enjoy nature?) Team Nature is our mission, and it’s also a community.

When you join us, you’ll know that running can be more than just being good to yourself. You can be good to your body and good to our planet.

We’re Accountable

The Nature Conservancy makes careful use of your support.

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