Near Nature

During coronavirus quarantine, find inner calm with 7 real-time nature videos

Stay connected to the outside world, even while stuck on your couch.

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Want to meditate with jellyfish and soothe your anxiety with kittens? Of course you do.

With many Americans practicing social distancing and staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic, these are the nature livestream videos you need to watch to stay connected.

Science has shown how important staying connected to nature is for our mental and physical wellbeing.

Fortunately, livestream cameras set up around the world let you virtually immerse yourself in nature without leaving your couch.

For added effect and some fresh air, watch these near an open window.

8. Jellyfish cam

OK, it isn't a livestream, but it is worth including, so consider this a bonus.

These stinging creatures may cause terror for ocean swimmers, but from the safety of your own home, watching them swirl in the water is deeply serene.

Monterey Bay Aquarium took advantage of that fact with a guided meditation video they posted this week, set to a background of jellyfish dancing in the water.

The video is a welcome distraction for more than 7,000 viewers on YouTube during these trying times. (There's a livestream set to music, too.)

7. Kitten Rescue Sanctuary

Whether or not you’re already cooped up with a pet, watching kittens snooze and play may be particularly soothing right now.

You can get up close with baby cats, courtesy of explore.org, which features dozens of livestreams from parks, wildlife preserves, zoos, and animal shelters.

The sanctuary featured, Kitten Rescue, has helped 13,000 cats find homes since it opened in 1997, according to the Explore website. (With many animal shelters shutting down temporarily, it might even inspire you to take in a foster pet for some temporary company.)

6. Maui Kai (Kaanapali Beach, Hawaii)

While cozy kittens provide some comfort, you may prefer to seek respite in the great outdoors.

You can take in the vastness of the ocean with a picturesque livestream at Kaanapali Beach in Hawaii.

Even as Miami and other locations close their beaches to slow the spread of the coronavirus, it's nice to know that the water, sand, and sunlight are out there somewhere.

5. Homewood Mountain (Lake Tahoe, California)

Decidedly less tropical, but equally vast and majestic, is the snowy Homewood Mountain in Lake Tahoe, California. The camera panning over the snow-topped trees gives a soft, quiet calm.

Seeing all that green and blue is a good reminder of the trips to take, and scenery to observe, down the road. But you can start the observation without even leaving your home.

4. Sheep Barn (Watkins Glen, New York)

For some reason, sheep are just really freaking funny to observe.

Watching them when they think they’re alone can bring you joy, and it’s possible thanks to an observational webcam set up in an upstate New York barn.

Shots of sheep nuzzling, snoozing, and chewing their hay bring you into the fluffy inner world of sheep.

3. Tropical Reef Aquarium (Long Beach, California)

You don’t have to choose between animals and scenery — coral reefs have both, and watching them exist is both calming and stimulating.

Watch schools of tropical fish navigating their underwater landscape, weaving in and out of corals, totally unaware of whatever is happening above sea level.

2. Puppies (Penngrove, California)

Similar to the Kitten Rescue Sanctuary, watching a mother dog bathe her pups is pure escapism that can make all feel right in the world. Explore.org has a livestream for that.

These pups are located at Bergin University of Canine Studies in California, a school that studies relationships between humans and dogs, focusing on service dogs and the role of dogs in society. They are also, one can assume, Very Good Boys and Girls.

1. Brown Bears (Katmai National Park, Alaska)

Cameras set up around Katmai National Park in Alaska show a rare view of what bears and other animals do when no humans are present.

On this camera, set at Brooks Falls, a peaceful fishing scene draws in viewers as amiable brown bears wait to catch their dinner. Let the scene take you and be glad you're not one of those delicious leaping fish.

Hopefully soon, we’ll all be enjoying the outdoors as much as we once did. But as long as we are all homebound, it’s a good time to get back to our roots, and enjoy the animals and scenery of the natural world.

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