Penn's Month-Long Outdoors Program

The 30x30 Challenge is an effort to encourage the Penn community to get outside, learn about local ecology, and appreciate the beauty of nature. Join Penn's 30x30 Challenge and challenge yourself to spend at least 30 minutes outdoors in nature each day for all 30 days of April. The Challenge runs from April 1 - 30. 

Did you know that Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, according to the EPA? Over the last decade, researchers have been documenting what many of us know intuitively - that nature is good for our health and well-being. Regularly immersing yourself in a natural setting-like a park, forest, or field- can reduce stress while boosting immunity, energy levels, and creativity.



Registration for the 2020 30x30 Challenge is open! Please sign up here. The 2020 30x30 Challenge will coincide with the City Nature Challenge, a competition among cities around the world to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people!

Questions? Email


2020 30x30 Qualifying Events

More events will be added to the list below as details are finalized.

April 6 Campus Ecology Tour


Meet at the Ben Franklin Statue outside of College Hall

Register here 

April 14 Cigarette Butt Cleanup Walk


Meet at the Ben Franklin Statue outside of College Hall

Register here

April 15

City Nature Challenge Bioblitz Demo


Meet at the Kaskey Park Biopond (behind Goddard Laboratories)

Register here

April 17 Wellness Walk


Meet at the Ben Franklin Statue outside of College Hall

Register here

April 23 ReThink Your Food Footprint


Meet at Shoemaker Green (217 S 33rd St)

Register here

April 30 Schuylkill River Trail Walk


Meet outside the Stoner Courtyard at the Penn Museum (South Street side)

Register here

Download Our Poster

Download the 2020 30x30 poster by clicking on the picture below.


Where can I find nearby nature?
Nature isn’t a destination—it’s literally in your backyard. Green space is as close as your neighborhood park or garden. Community gardens, trails, parks, and open, natural areas are often a short diversion from your daily route. Birds, bees and other critters are always nearby. You just have to take time to watch and listen.

What counts as “time in nature”?
Good question! It’s simple: time in nature is about getting outside and taking time to notice and connect with the non-human life around you.

Time in nature is not always the same as being outside — most busy city thoroughfares aren’t very green or calming. But the good news for urban dwellers is that even small green spaces are beneficial if you relax and pay attention to nature when you’re there. We recommend putting your electronic devices away so you can use all your senses to listen for bird song, breathe fresh air and watch for local wildlife.

Can you give me some ideas for spending 30 minutes in nature during the workday?

  • Walk or bike to work
  • Eat your lunch outside
  • Explore a neighborhood park
  • Hold a meeting outdoors
  • Go for a run outside instead of at the gym
  • For more ideas, check out our weekly challenges, below. 

I missed a day – can I still participate in the Challenge?
Of course! The Challenge isn’t about being perfect. We want to encourage the Penn community to get outside and enjoy nature more often. Little by little, you can cultivate the nature habit.

How can I earn Be In the Know Bonus Action points for participating?

The following steps are required to earn completion credit:

  • Sign up for the 30x30 Challenge
  • Attend at least one qualifying Penn Sustainability 30x30 event (all events listed above qualify)
  • At the end of April, sign a pledge that you completed the challenge

Social Media Competition

We would love to see your fun ideas for getting outside, so please share what you're doing with Penn Sustainability on social media! Tag us on Instagram (@pennsustainability), Twitter (@greenpenn), or Facebook (@PennSustainability) and use the hashtag #Penn30x30Challenge in your post.

At the end of the month, we'll select a winning social media post, and the winner will receive a wood-painted S'Well water bottle.

Weekly Challenges and Other Events

Week 1 (April 1-7):

Take your reading outside--find your favorite shady (or sunny!) spot and enjoy the outdoors as you enjoy the newspaper or some literature.

Bike or walk somewhere you've never been before. Explore your own neighborhood or one you've been wanting to check out.

Eat lunch outside - bring your coworkers to a new park, or find a big tree to sit underneath.

Walk a dog. Volunteer to take a friend's or neighbor's dog on a walk for them, if you don't have your own. 

Week 2 (April 8-14):

Take a photo that captures the detail of a plant or other natural object.

Find a cool bug or plant, and try to identify its species using online field guides.

Take a pencil and paper outside with you. Sketch what you see, write a poem, or just reflect on the day.

Go for a walk at night. Look and listen for animals and critters that you normally wouldn't see or hear during the day.

Week 3 (April 15-21):

Make a barbeque dinner and eat outside with your family.

Suggest a walking meeting or outdoor meeting to your co-workers.

Skip the gym. Go on a run or bike ride instead.

Get your hands dirty in a garden. 

Week 4 (April 22-30):

Celebrate Earth Day on April 22! 

Attend the Penn Relays.

Go on a hike this weekend. There are lots of short, beautiful day hikes in the Philadelphia region.

If you have a scheduled call, take your call outside.