30x30 Outdoor Challenge
The 30x30 Outdoor Challenge is an effort to encourage the Penn community to get outside, learn about local ecology, and appreciate the beauty of nature. Join Penn's 30x30 Challenge and challenge yourself to spend at least 30 minutes outdoors in nature each day for all 30 days of April. The Challenge runs from April 1-30.
Did you know, according to the EPA, that Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors? Over the last decade, researchers have been documenting what many of us know intuitively - that nature is good for our health and well-being. Regularly immersing yourself in a natural setting like a park, forest, or field, can reduce stress while boosting immunity, energy levels, and creativity.
Register for the 2023 30x30 Outdoor Challenge.
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Where can I find nearby nature?
Nature isn’t a destination—it’s literally in your backyard. Green space is as close as your neighborhood park or garden. Community gardens, trails, parks, and open, natural areas are often a short diversion from your daily route. Birds, bees and other critters are always nearby. You just have to take time to watch and listen. Use our Nature Rx map to find locations both on and around Penn's campus where you can benefit from spending time in nature!
What counts as “time in nature”?
Good question! It’s simple: time in nature is about getting outside and taking time to notice and connect with the non-human life around you.
Time in nature is not always the same as being outside — most busy city thoroughfares aren’t very green or calming. But the good news for urban dwellers is that even small green spaces are beneficial if you relax and pay attention to nature when you’re there. Visit our Nature Rx webpage to learn more!
Can you give me some ideas for spending 30 minutes in nature during the workday?
- Eat your lunch outside
- Explore a neighborhood park
- Go for an outdoor run
I missed a day – can I still participate in the Challenge?
Of course! The Challenge isn’t about being perfect. We want to encourage the Penn community to get outside and enjoy nature more often. Little by little, you can cultivate the nature habit.
How can I earn Be In the Know Bonus Action points for participating?
In order to earn 750 points through Be In the Know:
- Sign up for the 30x30 Outdoor Challenge on the Virgin Pulse platform
- Select "Yes" on the daily check-in on Virgin Pulse for 21 out of the 30 days in April
- Meet all required deadlines for registration and tracking
We would love to see your fun ideas for getting outside, so please share what you're doing with Penn Sustainability on social media! Tag us on Instagram (@pennsustainability), Twitter (@greenpenn), or Facebook (@PennSustainability) and use the hashtags #Penn30x30Challenge and #NatureRxPenn in your post.
Weekly Challenges and Other Events
Week 1 (April 1-8)
- Walk a dog. Volunteer to take a friend's or neighbor's dog on a walk for them if you don't have your own.
- Take a moment to notice how vibrant the flowers are blooming outside.
- Take a moment to close your eyes and breathe in the fresh air outside.
- Think of your funniest memories and enjoy a good laugh or think of the best memory you’ve ever had and smile.
- Allow yourself to daydream.
- Enjoy your favorite soothing tea or warm beverage.
- Try journaling your thoughts and feelings, inspired poetry or profound song lyrics that moved you.
- Take your reading outside - find your favorite shady (or sunny!) spot and enjoy the outdoors as you enjoy the newspaper or some literature.
- Bike or walk somewhere you've never been before. Explore your own neighborhood or one you've been wanting to check out.
- Eat lunch outside and take in your natural surroundings.
Week 2 (April 9-15)
- Take a photo that captures the detail of a plant or other natural object.
- Find a cool bug or plant, and try to identify its species using online field guides.
- Take a pencil and paper outside with you. Sketch what you see, write a poem, or just reflect on the day.
- Go for a walk at night. Look and listen for animals and critters that you normally wouldn't see or hear during the day.
- Try writing a gratitude list while admiring the beauty of nature.
- Try Qigong, yoga or meditation outside.
Week 3 (April 16-22)
- Celebrate Penn's Earth Week!
- Participate in Campus Recreation's Outdoor Bootcamp on April 21 (Must be registered in the 30x30 Outdoor Challenge to receive Be in the Know credits)
- Make a barbeque dinner and eat outside.
- Skip the gym. Go on a run or bike ride instead.
- Get your hands dirty in a garden.
- Grab a sketchbook and draw flowers growing near you.
- Celebrate Earth Week (April 18 - 22) with events across campus!
- Focus on wellness while listening to soft music outside.
- Try writing or stating Affirmations to improve your mood and uplift your energy outside.
Week 4 (April 23-30)
- Participate in HR's April Outdoor Wellness Walk on April 27 (additional 200 Be in the Know points)
- Participate in the City Nature Challenge
- Go on a hike this weekend. There are lots of short, beautiful day hikes in the Philadelphia region.
- If you have a scheduled call, take your call outside.
- Watch the sunrise or sunset for multiple days this week - notice the difference in colors and hues.
- Find a relaxing place to sit and watch the birds and squirrels outside.
- Some folks enjoy people watching and making up funny scenarios behind the activities you watch. Allow humor to relieve your stress and elevate your mood.