From gardening to watching birds at backyard feeders, connecting with nature offers many opportunities to engage with your surroundings and tune out the cacophony of daily life. Plant biologists Jacob Suissa and Ben Goulet-Scott offer another option: botanizing, or observing and appreciating plants.

Like birding, botanizing doesn’t require much gear: A hand lens, field guide and maybe a plant ID app will get you started. And because plants are so central to our lives, you don’t need to look farther than your garden, or even the foods in your kitchen, to take on a deeper appreciation for plants’ role in nature.

This week we also liked stories on Jim Croce on the 50th anniversary of his death, the medieval Tinmel mosque destroyed in Morocco’s earthquake, and research on deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant depression.

Jennifer Weeks

Senior Environment + Cities Editor

You may be surprised by what’s growing on a familiar trail. Benjamin Goulet-Scott

Take a break from your screen and look at plants − botanizing is a great way to engage with life around you

Jacob S. Suissa, University of Tennessee; Ben Goulet-Scott, Harvard University

Botanizing is the practice of observing and appreciating plant life. Two plant scientists explain how it benefits people and the planet.

Jim Croce went from struggling folk musician to chart-topping singer-songwriter. Charlie Gillett Collection via Getty Images

‘Time In A Bottle’: Jim Croce’s music continues to inspire 50 years after his life was cut short

Ted Olson, East Tennessee State University

Jim Croce’s brief time in the national spotlight was enough to put a bevy of songs in heavy rotation on radio stations – and on stage in the hands of a lengthy A-list of fellow musicians.

Teamwork is a common theme among the growing number of board games that deal with climate change. Victor Habbick Visions/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

What can board games teach students about climate change?

Debra J. Rosenthal, John Carroll University

While most board games are designed for one person to win, climate change games are about saving the world.

The Conversation Quiz 🧠

  • Here’s the first question of this week’s edition:

    In a deal announced on Sept. 18, President Biden agreed to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian funds in exchange for what?

    1. A. Nuclear inspections
    2. B. A promise not to attack Israel
    3. C. Five American detainees
    4. D. 5 million bootleg copies of "Argo"

    Test your knowledge