30 Days Wild 2017 in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire
PUBLISHED: 16:03 01 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:26 01 June 2017
It’s easy, fun and will make you glow! Try a Random Act of Wildness with your family every day this June
Seeing the world through the eyes of our children is one of the best ways to enjoy 30 Days Wild, the Wildlife Trust’s annual campaign to encourage all of us to be a little bit closer to nature.
Going on daily adventures to explore and discover is all part of 30 Days Wild, which nature blogger Sue Croxford did with her family last year. “All 30 days were adventures in their own ways and we relished the challenge to do something wild every day for a month,” Sue recalls. “Some days we strolled through a local nature reserve to see what treasures we could find, climbed trees in the woods or played in the stream.
“Often we just stayed at home and explored our back garden, hunting for bugs, observing the baby birds and their attentive parents or watching an orange tip butterfly lay her precious eggs.”
Sue, who lives in Monks Risborough, Buckinghamshire, was lucky enough to borrow a moth trap and set it up in the garden overnight: “The next morning it felt like Christmas as we all got up early to open it, still in our pyjamas, to see what we’d caught. Another day I surprised the children by collecting them from school and taking them straight to our local woods to have a go at pond dipping. What’s not to love about messing about in a muddy pond in wellies and your school uniform?”
30 Days Wild is now in its third year as a nationwide campaign to encourage more people to discover their local nature in easy ways, and feel the benefits. Researchers at the University of Derby asked people taking part in 30 Days Wild how they felt after finishing the challenge. Dr Miles Richardson, Director of Psychology, who led the study, said: “The impact of 30 Days Wild adds to the compelling argument for bringing nature into our everyday lives. Two months after taking part in 30 Days Wild, there was a 30 per cent increase in the number of people who reported their health as excellent.
“Last year’s results also show people’s happiness continued to improve after 30 Days Wild ended, which illustrates its sustained impact. This is important as it is happiness and connecting with nature that influence improvements in health. Our study also shows that those who benefitted most were younger adults and those who weren’t ‘nature lovers’.”
Random acts of wildness were the best, says Sue: “Many of our activities were unplanned and just seemed to happen as we went about our daily routine.
“We had a competition to see who could spot the most birds on the walk to school, the children read their favourite books about wildlife to the dog and they had a lovely time racing snails at their school summer fair. We kept our eyes open, enjoyed being outdoors and had no trouble finding something wild to do every day.”
One of the highlights was a glow-worm hunt. Sue wrote in her blog: “We stumbled through the darkness, intruding on a secret nocturnal world. Torch beams bounced off the towering tree trunks, casting eerie shadows and hidden places. Our senses heightened by the darkness, it felt like a thousand pairs of curious eyes were peering at us from every nook and cranny.
“We could see bats swooping above us, visible as they crossed through breaks in the tree cover. A fox barked its anguished scream nearby, making us freeze and hold our breath. Seeking reassurance, my daughter slipped her hand into mine and we carried on through the woods and out onto the grass slope.
“We began our hunt, but even as our eyes became accustomed to the darkness we had to be careful not to trip over ant hills or fall down a rabbit hole. We scoured the long grass, searching for a magical speck of green light. Eventually we found one, then another and another and our faces, quite literally, lit up with joy. We’d found our first female glow-worms attempting to attract a mate.”
Sue and her family will be taking part again in June: “We’re hoping the red kites nesting in the back garden will manage to raise chicks this year. The eggs should hatch at the start of June, so we’ll be watching them closely. Most of all we’re looking forward to lots of surprises and being part of something as special as 30 Days Wild. It’s easy, it’s fun and it will make you glow, so why not give it a go too.”
What will you do?
• Be inspired by these suggestions and create your own. Share them with others using #30DaysWild and see them on the BBOWT website bbowt.org.uk
• Create artwork in the wild using leaves, pine cones, twigs, feathers and pebbles. Take a photo and share on social media #30DaysWild.
• Take Ten. Just 10 minutes sitting outside listening to birdsong and other sounds of nature is very calming, especially if you can sit beside a river or a lake.
• Make your own pollinators’ patch at home with a tub or hanging basket of nectar-rich flowers and watch the butterflies and bees move in.
• Meet the neighbours: create a hedgehog highway by putting a CD size hole in your fence and encourage your neighbours to do the same thing; you will help any local hedgehogs travel the 1-2km that they do each night.
• Start a nature table at school or at home. Feathers, snail shells, mosses, flower petals and old bird’s nests make great talking points.
• Go for an early morning walk, you’ll be amazed to discover the different creatures that are about at dawn; hear the dawn chorus and catch the perfume of garden flowers before the heat of the day.
• Explore a local nature site. Take a walk around a churchyard or local park to discover wildlife in hidden places.
• Admire the setting sun from the top of the Chiltern Hills or Berkshire Downs, a riverside pub garden, or your bedroom window. Listen to birds going to roost, and watch bats taking their first flight of the night.