Our 30×30 challenge

June 30, 2015 | by Office of Sustainability staff

This June, the Office of Sustainability participated in the Wisconsin Green Building Alliance’s 30×30 Nature Challenge to spend 30 minutes in nature every day. As the month closes, read on to learn about our interns’ activities and experiences and their reflections on the challenge. For more images, check out our photo gallery.

For my 30×30, I did my best to explore all the outdoor activities Madison provides. One of the new hobbies I’ve picked up, which I would highly recommend to anyone even slightly interested, is kayaking. For the last few weeks, I’ve been going out at least two or three times a week. It’s a great way to unwind from work or to start your weekend off right on a Friday evening. In addition, 30×30 has inspired me to finally visit the Vilas Zoo, regularly head to the farmers market, exercise daily, join an intramural team, and, in general, just be more outgoing. I think the most important lesson I’ve taken away is that there’s no excuse for boredom. Find your passion and take the time out of your day to pursue it wholeheartedly. I’ve promised myself that I won’t look back on my college experience and regret not taking advantage of all our campus has to offer. -Kyle Powers

As someone who frequently spends time outdoors, the 30X30 challenge was something I could do mindlessly. I am always searching for ways to have some fun in the sun. Whether I am running along Lake Monona, enjoying a ski show, listening to some tunes on the terrace, biking downtown, or relaxing on the Capitol lawn, I am always happier enjoying the outdoors. The 30X30 was also a great bonding experience in the office. Every week we would find a time to enjoy our 30 together, either by sharing the biking love by bike tagging or snagging some free veggies at Harvest Handouts. -Breana Nehls

I really enjoyed participating in the 30×30 challenge. Due to the gorgeous weather we have had, it was not much a challenge most days. Being cooped up in an office the majority of the day leaves me looking for any excuse to go outside. On the sunny days, I spent my 30 outside biking, laying in a hammock, chilling at Allen Centennial and the Union, eating lunch outside, or simply exploring. Rainy days were more of a challenge, but usually the only time I go on runs in the summer is when it’s raining, so that worked out. I definitely recommend anyone and everyone spending 30+ minutes outside everyday. -Brooke Marten

The 30×30 challenge definitely encouraged me to be more aware of the time I spend outside. Before the challenge, I already spent a decent amount of time outside, even if it was just walking to work, or walking the dog. Pleasant days were not much of an issue for me, but I found myself more reluctant to spend time outside on particularly rainy or mosquito-y days. Consequently, this drove me to get creative. Instead of changing my plans because of rain, I would continue with them, and found that the rain isn’t such a big deal as long as I’m equipped with a rain jacket. I worked around the mosquito problem by finding ways to get out earlier in the day, and stayed out of heavily wooded areas later in the day. For the most part, I gained a new appreciation for how much my lifestyle allows me to get outside; I have the time, so I have no excuse not to seize the opportunity. -Anna Ostermeier

The most enjoyable part about the 30×30 challenge for me was to see all of the diverse ways my coworkers and I were able to integrate nature into our daily lives whether that was biking, taking meetings outside, going to the farmers’ market or heading to the zoo. I am lucky enough to live a lifestyle that allows for 30 minutes of outdoor activity without altering my routine, so what the challenge did for me instead was that it made me more conscious about the time I spent outdoors and I was really able to appreciate how beautiful my city is. Additionally, I reflected on the fact that this challenge even exists and that we have created a culture in this country that makes it difficult for many people to get outside for even 30 minutes a day. I hope that we can change that one day and make getting outside as much as possible a priority! -Ellie Plonsky

As someone who has never spent a summer in Madison, I was really excited to take on the 30×30 challenge. I already love to relax outside, but it just gave me another reason to spend time outside. I spent so much of my time on the Terrace. Sitting out there during sunset might be my favorite thing ever. I can easily say Madison in summer is definitely better than Madison in the winter (and I thought winters were pretty magical). I roped my roommate into the 30×30 challenge as well. Whether I had a meeting outside, bike tagged with the office, went to the zoo or farmers’ market, took photos or spent time outside for social media, I thoroughly enjoyed my time outside over the past month. I encourage everyone to get outside every day and soak up some vitamin D. -Maija Inveiss

My 30×30 experience varied each day. Some days I went on bike rides, others I played pick up soccer at the University Bay fields.  I also engaged with nature outside of athletics. This past weekend I went to the farmers’ market with my dad and sister, I highly recommend going if you still have not been. The atmosphere is rivaled only by the incredibly fresh and local food. Just spending 30 minutes outside each day gave me another level for appreciation for the natural world around us.  There’s so much to do and see in Madison, there’s no excuse to stay inside all day! -Brian Keenan

For some ideas on what to do this summer, here are some of our favorite places to visit to get outside.