• D'Ann Drennan

Updated: Jun 13, 2020

There’s a movement happening called 1000 hours outside. Ginny Yurich, a Michigan mom of five, began this challenge to encourage people to spend time outside with their children. For statistic nerds, here are some facts.

This is where the 1,000 hours was born. To try to balance out the amount of screen time with outdoor time.

We at Buena Vista encourage outdoor time. We are sometimes amazed that kids (and even their parents) are not able to entertain themselves. Not even when they are given sticks and rocks and dirt and worms (and even fishing poles and fish in the pond!). They don’t know what to use the stage for. They don’t realize they can climb on the logs and the rocks. They don’t know how to use an old-fashioned see-saw.

As schools become increasingly structured and rigid in the wake of the current pandemic, as high-stakes testing continues to lurk, as kids’ anxiety and depression rates soar … there IS an answer. It’s called nature. Come join us. Join the pledge. Strive for 1000 hours outside in a year and watch your life, and your kids’ lives, change!

Learn more here, and download your own tracker:

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  • D'Ann Drennan

How is May going for you? It’s probably a lot different than you expected. For parents, May is usually the season of stressful finals, Awards Banquets, and graduations (with Mother’s Day squeezed in somehow). For others, it’s Memorial Day and the kick-off to camping season with friends and family. For nearly everyone, May is a VERY busy month. But regardless of what every other May for the entirety of your life was like, this year probably looks quite a bit different.

At Buena Vista, we’ve been hearing and posting a lot of positive stories about how people are making the best of the quarantine, their economic worries, and their isolation. But you can’t always just put on a happy face and make everything ok. It’s actually healthy to embrace ALL your emotions – both good and bad - and then work through them. Grief shouldn’t be an emotion reserved just for death. For those who haven’t been able to hug their elderly parents, or who won’t get to see their kid walk across stage, or who can’t get together with all their friends for a BBQ, or who didn’t get to play their final season… it’s OK to GRIEVE.

At Buena Vista this month, we’ve grieved the loss of a baby Angora goat that lived for only a day, despite our best efforts to save it. We’ve grieved that we haven’t had our quarterly employee fun day. We’ve grieved that we can’t interact with our guests in the way we usually do. These seem trivial when compared to many of the big issues in the world. But the thing is, nothing we feel deeply about seems trivial to US.

So we encourage you: Acknowledge your feelings. Accept your emotions. Appreciate the changes. We can’t expect life always to be happy, nor should we. Be we can expect to come out of every situation we face just a little bit smarter, and a little bit more prepared to handle whatever comes our way. Life is full of uncertainties, but even the ones that seem bad at the time – if we work all the way THROUGH them - can be our best blessings in retrospect.

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  • D'Ann Drennan

Today, many people around the world are observing Good Friday. For Christians, this day is one of sadness and reflection, tempered only by the promise of Easter just around the corner. Good Friday may symbolize the day that Jesus died, but Easter represents a time of rebirth; a time for people to start again regardless of the past.

Whether you believe in a God or a religion or not, we can all learn something from this story. Many people are facing the current pandemic with fear and sadness. No matter what precautions we take – how much we isolate, or wear our homemade masks, or wash our hands – the randomness of this virus leaves us feeling out of control. There’s no predicting who will contract Covid-19 or how it will affect them. In addition to the physical manifestations, some people in quarantine are facing mental isolation. Voices start to rattle around inside their minds. A simple idea turns into an echo, then a vibration, then an avalanche. And then there’s the financial uncertainty that no one could have predicted! No doubt, this is a dark time. It is the world’s Good Friday without the certainty that Easter will follow.

At Buena Vista, we know what it feels like for life to be beyond our control. No matter what precautions we take, the randomness of life is evident. We have new high fences around our entire 325 acres. We have predator control systems in place. We feed our animals every day, whether a single guest comes to visit or not. We give them regular veterinarian care. We do everything we can to keep our animals healthy and safe. But we still have animals that get sick, die, or are killed. It doesn’t happen often, and every time we lose an animal it makes us deeply sad. Regardless of how careful we are, some things are outside of our control.

But here’s what the Easter story teaches us: THERE IS HOPE. At Buena Vista now, it’s baby season! Oryxes and Elands and Longhorns and Angoras are on the ground. Bison and Red Deer and Blackbuck are coming. Flowers are springing up. The grass is green. There is the promise of rebirth and renewal. There is much to be hopeful about, even if we don’t know the ending of the story yet.

As we have learned so quickly, the coronavirus affects people regardless of race, gender, nationality, orientation, or even financial situation. But we’ve also seen people come together to help others in new and creative ways. At Buena Vista, our different animals don’t always stick with their own kind. One of our emus, Nellie, much prefers the company of Sue and Gryff, the llamas. The zebra and the wildebeest are buds. The bison and the longhorns hang out together. What if we could be more like our friends at the Safari? Wouldn’t it be great if we could emerge from this time of darkness with a new ability to: radically accept people who look different from us; radically love people who have disparate beliefs or agendas; and radically cooperate for a common good? The best way to get through the darkness is to focus on the light that is coming. What will that light look like for you?

Share your good, #BuenaGood :

If you are looking for a message of hope on Easter, go to:

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