The Wildlife Trust want you to stop for a minute each day in June and do something to refresh, reinvigorate and rewild your life. Doing something wild every day is good for the soul. Britain is still quite wild really, and it doesn’t take long to find a park, overgrown cemetery or woodland that you’ve not explored before. In the run up to June, do yourself a favour and get prepared to welcome wildlife into your life. Buy yourself a Collins Nature Guide for 1p on birds, butterflies, wildflowers or the thing that you know least about. If you don’t already have an old pair of binoculars lying around, get on ebay and buy a pair. Now you’re ready to hit the rewild button.
Here are 30 bitesized ideas to get you started:
- A walk in the woods – A logical place to start your 30 day journey into the wild. Choose a woodland or any wild place that is significant to you. Perhaps your favourite woodland attached to childhood memories or somewhere you’ve never been. Go for a walk and look, really look, at the plants, birds, insects. It’s even better if you don’t know what you’re looking at as you can return on day 30 and see what you notice.
- Listen to the birds – Every morning, unless you’re a really early riser, the birds will be waking up and singing their morning songs. How many different songs can you hear? Download an app on your phone to identify the birds. You can even try joining in. I often, when walking on my own and have checked nobody is looking, will try to imitate bird song to engage in conversation. Robins will usually humour you.
- Look under a rock – This could be the quickest and easiest of all your rewilding. How long has it been since you lifted a rock and gazed at the minibeasts underneath? Allow yourself to revisit your childhood and stare into the insect world.
- ID some wildflowers – How many wildflowers do you know the name of? I can spot a few, but every time I learn a new one, I get a sense of satisfaction. Right now there are bluebells and daffodils everywhere.
- Count the birds – Sometimes, on my way to work, I count the number of birds I see. This makes my commute fly by and sometimes I spot something new or interesting that I haven’t noticed before. How many different species of bird live on your daily route?
- Walk a dog – If you don’t have a dog, borrow one from someone. Take the dog for a wander through the woods, a park or even just around the block. Watch how excited the dog gets by the smells, sounds and sights of the outside world. Take a leaf out of the dog’s book.
- Pick wild garlic – At this time of year, wild garlic can be found almost everywhere. It grows near hedges and can be identified by its dainty white flowers and overpowering garlic perfume. Pick a few leaves, chop them up and add them to your supper. It is delicious and it will make you feel, a little bit, like Bear Grylls.
- Take a photograph – This can be done everyday. Take a photograph of something wild and share it with the world. You might be really good at it, earning yourself kudos from the naturalist community, who after all are a pretty decent bunch. Wildlife photography, at the risk of sounding dramatic, COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
- Look at the clouds – How much can you remember from GCSE geography? If you’re anything like me, probably very little, apart from the nicknames you had for the geography teacher. Relearn the clouds and understand the weather a little better.
- Look in a hedge – Very quick and easy, peering into a hedge can also be fascinating. Some of the smaller birds, such as long-tailed tits, construct their nests in hedges. Hedges are ecosystems of their own and if left to get a bit natty, provide homes for lots of creatures.
- Feed the ducks – How did I get to 11 without mentioning ducks? Feeding ducks is a great way to really connect with nature. Most birds will try to avoid contact with you, but wildfowl will actively seek you out. Do this responsibly by feeding them seeds, not yesterday’s half eaten baguette.
- Join a group – By day 12 you’re hopefully feeling pretty wild and passionate about wildlife. Why not join a society or group that helps protect wildlife? Butterfly Conservation UK do great work, and you can become a member for less than the price of a sandwich. Find something that strikes a chord with you and join the community.
- Learn some latin – Wouldn’t it be cool to know the scientific (latin) names for some of our insects, birds and flowers? I confess to not knowing any, but I’m always a little envious of those who do.
- Name a pigeon – Silly, but another good way to connect. On your street, it’s likely there lives a small gang, a posse if you will, of feral pigeons. All feral pigeons have their own unique, scruffy plumages. Giving each of your neighbourhood pigeons a name will allow you to greet them, and perhaps even feel some affection towards them. All animals have personalities. I had a pigeon who sat on the same branch every day outside my classroom who the children named ‘Roadworks’.
- Sit on a bench – You’ve made it halfway to rewilding. You’ve earned a rest. Find a bench in a park, hopefully in the sunshine and sit there for a while. Listen to birds. By now you might have learnt a few more bird songs.
- Look on a map – I guarantee that if you look on a map right now, you’ll find patches of green within walking distance that you’ve never been to. Make a list of all the green spaces you’d like to explore.
- Spot butterflies – How many species of butterfly can you name? June is a good month for butterflies. Sit in your garden, local park or woodland and count the number of butterflies you see. Butterflies feel particularly special, perhaps because they are only around for a short while each year, so make the most of them.
- Make a home for bees – We need bees. You can make a home for them really easily by following this step by step guide. It will be fun, and you’ll be saving the planet!
- Do some research – Do you know which animals are endangered in the UK? Do you know where swallows go in the winter? Take a few minutes to research something that you’ve always wondered about. You might get some good pub conversation out of it. For example, did you know that badgers use a designated area to do their business, known as a latrine?
- Tell someone – If you’re like me, you’ll have already told everyone you know about your rewilding. If you haven’t, now is the time. You’ve been rewilding for 20 days. You’ve probably seen and done some cool stuff. Let people know how you’re getting on. Join in the conversation on social media, or just have a chat in the pub or at the dinner table.
- Make a friend – If you’re patient, you might be able to befriend a squirrel. Most are very skittish and won’t come anywhere near you, but if you bring some treats and are willing to sit and wait for a while, one might get used to you. If not, you can at least say you’ve tried. Perhaps a duck might make a better companion.
- Watch the bees – There are 270 different species of bee in this country. TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY! Growing up, I thought there were simply honeybees, bumble bees and wasps and I was a bit terrified of them all. Now I love watching bees and studying them for their differences. I’m still terrified of wasps.
- Take a friend with you – You might know someone who could do with a bit of rewilding. Now is the time to invite the on a walk. You’ll be able to point out all sorts of interesting things, without being a showoff. I love watching people, particularly young people, light up when they see a parakeet for the first time or try to chase a butterfly. Being a teacher, I’ve been able to make this happen often, but we all know someone who could use it.
- Write a haiku – Japanese poets have been writing about nature for longer than anyone. Choose a flower, tree, bird or insect and write a simple haiku, illustrating its character.
- Start a collection – This is particularly good if you have children or are a teacher, or if you’re just a little bit eccentric. Go for a walk with a sandwich bag in your pocket. Collect interesting leaves, wildflowers, feathers, bones etc. Personally I have a jar of bones, several fossils and various other things that make excellent talking points.
- Read outside – forego your cup of tea and your sofa. Take your shoes off. Lean against a tree in a quiet spot and read. Even better still, read a book about wildlife or nature. If you haven’t read it, get a copy of ‘A Walk in The Woods’ by Bill Bryson and you’ll be glued there for hours.
- Sketch a flower – Choose your favourite wildflower and spend a few minutes sketching it. It might take you back to secondary school art, sketching a bowl of fruit. This is definitely one to share on social media with #30dayswild.
- Close your eyes – At the risk of looking a bit weird, find a spot in the middle of a woodland or wild place and close your eyes. Really listen to every sound. Things sound bigger in the woods. Can you recognise the birds? Listen out for squirrels imitating angry birds… it happens.
- Make a list – Having nearly completed your rewilding, make a list of everything you’ve learnt, seen, heard and experienced. Share this with the world. Even if you’re not the social media type, make an exception. The more people share their love of wildlife, the more people will protect it.
- Another walk in the woods – Revisit your wild place from day 1. What has changed since you were last there? It is likely that you’ll have learnt something new about the plants, birds, trees or insects over the last 30 days, even if you are already a keen naturalist.
Whatever you choose to do for your rewilding, make it count and make a difference. Championing our wild places is a way to ensure that they are looked after for future generations to enjoy. Share your experience with #30dayswild and be part of a community that lives to safeguard the natural world and all that’s in it, including us.
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