Photos courtesy of The Nature Bus
“My heart and my soul are meant to be outdoors,” says Suzanne Moss. Moss, a former elementary school teacher, wanted to share her love of nature with others, so in 2017 she started a new business, The Nature Bus.
Based in Virginia Beach, and departing from the REI at Pembroke Mall, The Nature Bus welcomes everyone to connect with nature from any angle. As the wrap on the bus reads, “Nature Experiences for All Ages.”
“We’ve had toddlers on the bus going for a preschool classroom trip. We’ve had the bus filled with ladies who want to have a girl’s day out,” Moss explains.
The Nature Bus offers experiences that can be tailored to the rider’s interests and activity levels. From whitewater rafting, kayaking and hiking to yoga on the beach, insect hunting and camping, the opportunities are virtually endless and change with the seasons.
While Moss says 90% of The Nature Bus’ experiences are in the Coastal Virginia and Eastern Shore region, she does offer whitewater rafting excursions in Richmond, leaf peeping in the Blue Ridge Mountains and trips to the Luray Caverns.
Some of Moss’ personal favorite experiences include guided paining in nature, birding, forest meditation, hiking and kayaking on the Eastern Shore and autumn trips to the Charlottesville area.
Moss curates these experiences with the help of knowledgeable guides. She collaborates with these guides who have expertise in particular areas, such as entomology, ornithology, beekeeping, snakes and coastal science.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and Gov. Ralph Northam’s current restrictions under Phase III, The Nature Bus hasn’t been able to operate since March. Since riders can’t maintain six feet of distancing while on the bus, the tour service does not meet Phase III requirements.
When The Nature Bus can get back up and running, Moss and her team already have a plan in place to ensure the health and safety of riders and staff. Riders will be supplied with individual bags with masks, a protective face shield and hand sanitizer inside. There will also be temperature readings, mask enforcement, along with disinfecting the bus after every tour.
In the meantime, Moss’ son Kevin, who is an artist and leads creative programming for The Nature Bus, came up with a solution for nature lovers looking for an escape from the four walls of their home during this quarantine.
Virtual tours are available on The Nature Bus’ YouTube channel. Paddle through Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve, meander along the marshes of False Cape State Park and traverse across the Cape Henry Trail at First Landing State Park without having to leave your home.
These virtual tours take viewers up-close to area wildlife and plants, while also providing information about what they’re seeing—a great alternative until The Nature Bus can ride again.