This June I took part in the Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild campaign. You can check out my pictures on Instagram. The aim of 30 Days Wild is to do something which allows you to connect with nature each day with a random act of wildness. It can be planting some flowers to attract the bees into your garden, building a bug house or going for a walk around your local nature reserve and identifying the trees and wildlife. If you missed out on 30 Days Wild, fear not, you can start now and do your bit for wildlife right on your doorstep with #365DaysWild.
Staying wild is not only good for nature, it’s good for your own well-being by becoming aware and using all your 5 senses; the touch of the rough bark, the warmth of the sun on your face, the smell of the flowers, the taste of the herbs you’ve just picked from the garden, the sounds of the birds and the sites you’ll take in.
Here’s some ideas to get you started and get outside whether you’re going solo, with friends or the whole family:
1. Make a Picnic
I’m not talking about your standard ham and cheese or crisp sarnie here. Go and make an effort. Make up a special hamper, find a nice spot, maybe next to a river or in a park. Don’t forget to take your rubbish home with you! #LeaveNoTrace
No one in more than 70 miles away from coastal waters, so what are you waiting for? Get up early to avoid the crowds, take a picnic, go rock-pooling, identifying any creatures that you find and make foot prints and sculptures in the sand. Don’t forget to check the tide times before you go and stay safe in the water.
4. Get Active outside
Go for a walk or a family bike ride. OS Maps have an awesome app and for a very reasonable price, you can find routes for walking and cycling for anywhere in the UK. It’s perfect if you’re on holiday in an unfamiliar area and want to find the footpaths and local routes. Just filter by the area you’re planning on exploring and the distance you want to travel. Make sure your phone is fully charged before heading out and it would be wise to have a paper map as a back-up; you should never fully rely on your phone for navigation. #GetOutside
5. Outside yoga
This is a personal favourite of mine. It’s not only good for your fitness, it’s creates some head space and is awesome for your general well-being. Find a flat grassy spot and yes, it can bit more challenging holding tree pose when it’s windy! Take the opportunity to listen to the birds and insects, feel the wind and sun (and sometimes little bugs) on your skin and the grass between your toes…..ahhhhh. There’s no better way to unwind. Don’t know where to start? There’s plenty of free online tutorials to get you going. Just be mindful not to do anything that you feel uncomfortable with and stop if anything hurts.
6. Wildlife ID
Go for a walk and try identifying the trees, flowers, birds and animals that you come across. It’s difficult to remember what you saw when you’re back home, but there’s plenty of cool apps out there that help you identify wildlife on the go. If you prefer to stay away from screen time whilst you’re out, take pictures or draw a picture in a notebook, writing down the key features and where you saw it. This is called the jizz (or giss). So if you were describing the jizz of a bird, you’d describe its overall appearance with such features as shape, posture, how it moves and flies, size and colour, what types of noise it makes, its habitat and where you saw it.
7. Plant some flowers, herbs and veg.
You don’t need a massive garden to grow vegetables and herbs. Mixed salad can be grown in plant pots as well as lots of herbs. Watch them go and add a sprinkling of freshness to your evening meal. If you’re like me and forget to water them sometimes, set a reminder for an evening once the sun has gone off the garden.
8. Go Plogging!
This Scandanavian trend has made its way to Britain. What is it? Picking up litter whilst running. It satisfies two needs with one deed! You get outside and run AND your local community and wildlife benefits from a cleaner, safer, plastic-free and rubbish-free community and environment. All you need is to out for your usual run, jog or stroll (with the buggy) and take a bag to put any rubbish in. You could even take two bags ; one for recyclables and the other for general waste. It’s also a good idea to take some gloves to protect your hands. And when you get home, you get that nice warm glow inside that you’ve done something good, not only for wildlife but for the community too.
9. Make a bug house
Insects and other bugs are crucial for a healthy ecosystem. So why not give the minibeasts a helping hand and make them a bug house or hotel if you’re feeling extravagant. What you’ll need: old bricks, rocks or stones, sticks and twigs, pine cones. The RSPB website is a great starting place. Here’s mine at home. I must confess, I don’t go too near it, firstly I don’t want to disturb any creatures taking refuge in there, but I also know there’s some very big spiders taking residence!
10. Sleep outside
This can take many forms, whether it’s sleeping in your back garden, in a tent on a campsite, or in a bivvy bag on the side of a hill. The point is to sleep under the stars. Pick a clear night if you can, later in the summer is better as it gets dark later. I bivvied out a few weeks ago and it never really got dark enough to see any stars. If you are out in the countryside, respect the Countryside Code and be respectful of other people that may be using the area.