Paige Konger is the head of animal care and husbandry, education, community outreach, events, and social media at the Tarpon Springs Aquarium.
Here is what Paige had to say when we asked her how you can do good for the planet (and yourself!):
What are three ways you can help the planet?
One, never stop learning! One of the best ways to help the planet is to understand it. I believe that education leads to passion, which leads to action. There are endless ways to learn about nature. There are articles, books, documentaries, social media sources, and podcasts dedicated to the topic. My favorite way to learn is to get outside, get to know our nonhuman neighbors, and to be immersed in the wild.
Two, remember the little things do add up! Things that seem small, like using more energy-friendly light bulbs, recycling, carpooling, and refusing any optional single-use plastics can make a huge impact. If we all do a small part, the effect can be beyond what we anticipated. Go to that beach cleanup and bring your own water bottle! Your choices are capable of changing the world.
Three, be an environmental advocate and informed voter. Once I was bitten by the “save the planet” bug, I found it difficult to stop myself from shouting it out to the world! I have learned that respectful communication and advocacy to those in your sphere of influence, no matter how small that feels, can create a ripple effect. Using your voice and your individual talents to help protect the planet may make an incredible impact.
Why is it important to spend time outdoors?
The benefits of spending time outdoors have been shown time and again in numerous studies. Naturally, the physical advantages from outdoor activities include all of the benefits of exercise plus the added vitamin D. The mental and social benefits may be even more profound. Time outdoors can boost energy, enhance creativity and focus, and help a busy person avoid burnout. In a pinch, studies have shown that even experiencing nature virtually or by looking out a window can increase a sense of well-being.
How can you incorporate the outdoors into a busy lifestyle?
I find that even the busiest among us (especially the busiest among us) need downtime to refuel and maintain perspective. There is nothing more fulfilling than using that time designated for mental self-care to get outside. No matter who you are or where you live, there is a way to connect with nature. If the weather is nice, a quick bike ride or walk can get you that essential fresh air. You could also start a hobby with minimal time commitment. I personally just started keeping bees! If you don’t have the space for that, you can try a small garden (choosing native plants will help pollinators and require minimal care) or get into star gazing. The adventurers out there may undertake hiking, scuba diving, or skiing! Even if all you have time for some days is a short meditation on the back porch, the benefits are worth the small time commitment.
Paige wears many hats as she helps her family run the Tarpon Springs Aquarium. She is the head of animal care and husbandry, education, community outreach, events, and social media. She graduated from Oklahoma City University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting. Using her artistic background, Paige teaches preservation to students through her YouTube, social media platform, and small business, Paige’s Planet. Paige is a board member of Blue Green Connections, a nonprofit responsible for the nomination and application to successfully create the Florida Gulf Coast HOPE spot, a marine protected area. To connect with Paige, visit https://www.paigesplanet.com/, email PaigesPlanet.firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow Paige’s Planet and Tarpon Springs Aquarium on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok!