Lockdown has been a tale of two halves for our wildlife. We’ve heard stories of how the UK’s flora and fauna have flourished in our absence, whether that’s verges of blossoming wildflowers that escaped the council’s strimmer or rare wildlife emerging in unusual places.
On the other hand, there have been illegal shootings of birds of prey, rises in sales of peat-containing compost and it seems increasingly likely that the dip in our emissions will creep back to dangerous levels as the economy ticks into action.
With that in mind, The Wildlife Trust's 30 Days Wild Challenge is the perfect opportunity to renew our commitment to protecting the environment and all of its creatures.
Now in its sixth year, the annual nature challenge asks everyone to carry out 30 “random acts of wildness” across the month of June. Activities range from challenging yourself to go a day without plastic to planting wildflower seeds or watching a live nature cam.
Brushing up on your birdsong, making a birdbath or simply noticing your local birdlife are some of the activities you could do during 30 Days Wild. © Mark Hamblin
All ages can take part and there’s plenty of inspiration in the digital pack and newsletters, so there’s no danger of running out of ideas. Online resources include a printable calendar page to chart your activities, a wild bingo game, colour-in window poster and a passport log-book.
As well as providing us with some wholesome daily pursuits and a distraction from the news, the benefits of getting involved could have a lasting impact on your wellbeing. A five year study carried out by The Wildlife Trust and the University of Derby found that interacting with nature on a daily basis had a positive impact on the participant’s health and wellbeing even two months after the 30 Days Wild Challenge ended. What's more, studies have shown that feeling connected to nature can spur us to want to protect it.
Will you help the hedgehogs during this year's challange? © Jon Hawkins Surrey Hills Photography
Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison stresses the difference being in nature can make to our mood, even if you only have a few moments to spare.
“We are all, but for 200 years of industrialisation, creatures of the land. It’s why nature looks beautiful to us; why we know how to be in nature; and why nature makes us feel content. 30 Days Wild from the Wildlife Trusts reminds us to notice nature in small moments every day. The stillness of even a few seconds changes our relationship with the planet and in those still quiet seconds, reconnects us with the truth of who we are”.
With everything bursting into colour, June is a great month to enjoy nature’s bounty. However, this year the emphasis is on how we can help nature to thrive and not just how nature helps us. Jo Richards, The Wildlife Trusts’ head of communications says there’s a particular focus on what we can do to support wildlife from home.
“We know that while we love our wildlife, it is really in need of our help. So this year, we’re not only providing ideas to help people feel closer to the wildlife on their doorstep, but also sharing simple actions that they can take to help care for it in their homes.”
If you don’t fancy doing the challenge alone, why not join as a community? There are specially designed packs for schools, businesses and care homes, as well as extra content added this year to help with homeschooling.
Last year a record 400,000 people completed more than 10 million 'random acts of wildness'. Let's hope we can beat that this year and emerge into a healthier, happier and wilder world post-lockdown.
Main photo credit: Michael Jones