Ever had the urge to follow a beatle around your garden or run barefoot through your local park's lawn? This June, why not shrug off your inhibitions and get closer to nature as part of the Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild Challenge
The good news is you don't have to walk very far to take a walk on the wild side. From balconies to back (and front) gardens to pavements plants and public parks, you might be surprised at the flora and fauna on your doorstep. Here are 30 'random acts of wildness' that will encourage you to enjoy, attract and protect your local wildlife.
Plant for pollinators
(c) Kieron Huston
A fun way to ensure our bees and butterflies don't go hungry is to plant up their favourite food. Think of wildflower seed bombs like a four-course meal for your pollinating pals. The fusion of colour and scent will bring all the pollinators to your yard. This Wildlife Trust has some great tips on how you can expand the menu at your nectar cafe
. You could also extend the wildflower chain by using seed paper to wrap any gifts.
Put out a birdbath
Giving your feathered visitors somewhere to wash is simple. All you need to do is fill a shallow dish with water and add a few pebbles for them to perch on. Then sit back and enjoy the sight of them frolicking in the water.
Make a wild bird feeder
Birdsong nightingale (c) Chris Gomersall
Not only is this a great way to attract local birdlife to your patch, but it’s also a fun and frugal way to encourage the little budding birders in your house. Think creatively about the materials you could recycle. It can be as simple as sticking sunflower seeds in halved and cored apples and stringing them up.
Plog your heart out
The RSPCA receives 5,000 litter-related calls a year, with wild birds being particularly affected by our rubbish. Plogging is a win win for planet and people you get to tick off your daily exercise and your good deed for the day. @Litterpickle
is a great Instagram account to follow for pun-tastic litter picking motivation.
Unleash your inner artist
Feeling crafty? Take a leaf out of Grayson Perry’s Art Club and use your time at home creatively. Don’t worry if you don’t have the right materials. Use nature's bounty for inspiration, vegetable skins for dye and cardboard (from all those lockdown deliveries) for your canvas.
Build a bug hotel
While a mishmash of straw, moss, hollow stems, bark and old roofing tiles might not sound like somewhere we'd want to spend the night, these materials are the basis of a mansion for your minibeasts. Watch what comes knocking and note it down in the 30 Days Wild minibeast spotting sheet
. In addition, Kate Humble suggests leaving out a leaf pile or discarded woodpile so there's a habitat to suit all the interior design preferences of your insects.
Brush up on your local flora
Deepen your connection to nature by learning the names of the trees and “weeds” you pass on a regular basis. Candide’s community of plant pros and plant identifying tool will come in handy here.
Learn a new language
One of the benefits of the reduced air and road traffic is nature's melody has been ringing out loud and clear. If you don't always jump out of bed early enough to hear the dawn chorus (you're not alone!), just tune into the calls you hear on your daily walk. The Wildlife Trust has listed the most common birdsong here
. Keep at it and you'll be fluent in birdsong in no time.
Up your photography game
Whether it's the pattern of a leaf or the stately gait of a mature tree, nature is fabulously photogenic. Use this wildlife photography guide
to hone your skills. Feeling flash? Consider entering your garden snaps in our photography competition.
Shoot for the stars
Being in nature isn’t just about what’s on the ground, there’s a world of wonder above us too. Choose a clear night sky, and gaze into the abyss to feel truly at one with the wild.
Catch the sunrise
Seeing the sun come up and blanket everything in that fresh morning light will fire up your day more than any social media scrolling will.
Watch a wild webcam
A guilt-free way to use your screen time if you can’t get outside is to watch the magic unfold on a live webcam. You’ll find secret cams from all over the UK on The Wildlife Trust website
Keep a nature journal
Building up a written picture of the species in and around your home and jotting down changes in weather patterns can help you keep track of how the changing climate is affecting our plants and wildlife. As well as being an emotional and creative outlet, your journal could even double up as a scrapbook for your wild finds. See our tips on keeping a nature journal with your tiny tot below.
Write to your local MP
Find a cause you believe in and shout about it. Whether it’s a development on your local green space, an unnecessary tree felling, excessive mowing or something else. Lots of campaigns have email templates so you can fire them off in a jiffy.
Dip your toes in
(c) Ross Hoddinott
Rewilding author Isabella Tree describes open swimming as the best "multi-sensory immersion in nature". And she isn't wrong. Brave the cool, tranquil waters of your nearest open swimming spot for a mind-calming, body tingling workout.
Volunteer your time, money or signature
From vital time outside to meeting likeminded people, volunteering at your local farm, community growing group or veg delivery box has numerous benefits. If that’s not an option consider donating to an appeal or adding your signature to an environmental petition. There’s no shame in being a sofa activist.
Sign up to a nature-based newsletter
For a punchy overview of conservation efforts around the UK, Inkcap is a brilliant new addition to your inbox. For a global deep dive into environmental issues, sign up to From a Climate Correspondent. For lyrical updates on the joys of growing, we recommend Noughticulture and Clair Ratinon's newsletter. For kid's activity ideas, sign up to Wild Days, a daily nature-themed newsletter from presenter Michaela Strachan.
Lose yourself in a good read
© Nick Upton
With travelling off the cards, a good book can transport you to other worlds. Top on our reading list of new nature-based releases are Wild Child by Patrick Barkham, Losing Eden by Lucy Jones and Everyday Nature from the National Trust.
Listen to a wild podcast
Not everyone is lucky enough to have been isolating in the Suffolk countryside so author Melissa Harrison captured the ethereal sounds of rural nature for us via her entrancing new podcast The Stubborn Light of Things. For chatty wildlife-themed tips, news and engaging interviews follow the UK Wildlife Podcast.
Wind up your weeding and give mowing a miss
Resist the urge to weed and leave your lawnmower in the shed – you’ll be doing pollinators a life-saving favour and you'll be rewarded with a luscious patch filled with life, scent and colour.
Grow from scraps
Getting hold of locally sourced, organic veggies needn’t be expensive. Peppers, tomatoes, onions, leeks, potatoes and chilis can be sprouted from your scraps. While self-sufficiency might be a way off, the thrill of tucking into something you’ve grown yourself is worth the time and effort, promise.
Make a no peat, pesticide or plastic promise
Avoid purchasing peat-based composts, do shop from organically-run nurseries and try to re-use plastic where you can’t avoid it. While you're at it, spiders, flies and mozzies don't need to meet their end in our homes. Consider catching them and returning them to the outside world instead.
Soak up the sounds of the forest
Forest bathing or Shinrin-yoku as it's known in Japan can be hugely restorative. Apply the principles below to your spring walks and notice how your mind quietens, the louder nature is.
Become a citizen scientist
© Terry Whittaker
Whether it's counting butterflies or recording the birdsong outside your window, there are lots of ways you can engage with nature and ensure its survival by contributing to a citizen science project
Go potty for pondlife
One surefire way to attract critters to your patch is to add water. Help stem the decline of our amphibians by digging out a pond or creating one with a washing up bowl, for smaller spaces.
Forage for your food
There’s a bounty of produce on your doorstep if you know where to look. Foraging books and courses can steer you on the right track but the main things to remember are making sure you're on public land and not eating anything you're unsure about it.
(c) Matthew Roberts
Whether it’s the sand between your toes or the cool blades of grass beneath your feet, one way to literally connect with nature is to kick your shoes and socks off.
Grow from seed
Want happy plants that haven't harmed the planet on the way to your windowsill? Growing from seed means you control the growing conditions. Swap seeds using your local community group or opt for organic varieties from Tamar Organics, Beans and Herbs or Stormy Hall Seeds to name a few.
Start composting your food scraps
Why feed your bin when you could be feeding your plants? Buying or building a compost bin is an easy win for your garden and the environment.
Seek out your local wild places
Just swapping the sounds of road traffic for birdsong and the sight of grey concrete for green foliage can boost your mental and physical health. Listen to the leaves rustling in the wind, drink in the scent of cut grass and take the time to notice what’s poking up through the earth.
The 30 Days Wild team say the most important thing is to "get outdoors and remember to stay close to home – but take time to breathe in the fresh air and appreciate the everyday wildlife on your doorstep."