December 4, 2015

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, I and many others were part of a movement. My actions were fairly simple: I went with my mother to the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth, Maine to look for birds. We spent about an hour walking their well-maintained trails, marveling at the different ecosystems we passed, including meadow, thicket, forest, and marsh. As we walked, I took a few photos, uploading them to social media with the hashtag #OptOutside. I was not alone. As of November 30th, the hashtag had been used 37,000 times on Twitter and 270,000 times on Facebook.

REI, an outdoor activity outfitter, set off a Twitter-storm this year when they announced that all REI stores would be closed on Black Friday, encouraging everyone instead to #OptOutside. Turning from consumerism to exploration, thousands did just that, hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding, and taking advantage of many parks offering free admission throughout the day.


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