The 30 Days Wild 2020 initiative with The Wildlife Trusts provided me with the impetus to take a step back, switch off, take off my Ecologist’s hat, and get outdoors for the simple fun of it. The aim of the initiative is to encourage participation in ‘random acts of wildness’ throughout June, which can be something as simple as listening to bird song or as adventurous as building a wild den!
I am very lucky to be employed in a role where my curiosity and interest in nature are fully supported, and I am regularly given the opportunity to get outdoors, explore and appreciate the wildlife in my local area and beyond. That said, it is easier for me to underappreciate what is quite literally on my doorstep.
This year’s 30 Days Wild initiative was unprecedented; it coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic which has hit us all hard. Nonetheless, for those of us who were lucky enough to be able to venture out, this was a fantastic way of disconnecting from the lockdown by re-engaging with nature. I could tell from the massive spike in the number of people visiting my local woodland on a daily basis, that many are likely to have inadvertently completed their own 30 Days Wild. In many ways, this shows how getting back to nature can be such a physical and mental remedy during stressful times or at least a great distraction.
Strictly speaking, some of my activities were not ‘random’ but they were all great fun. Some of my favourites include:
- Having a picnic in the forest.
- Going on a wild food forage. I found an impressive patch of wild garlic in my local woodland, which made for a delicious salad and wild garlic pesto.
- Planting bee friendly flowers in my yard.
- Netting beasties in the garden pond.
- Bat detecting. I admit I am cheating with this one as it is part of my job but I really enjoy it, especially when we find a roost!
- Butterfly hunting.
- Watching badgers. I know of a sizable badger sett not too far from where I live but I have never seen any badgers, until now. I found a comfy spot to sit and wait whilst on a walk one evening. My patience paid off and I was lucky enough to see a whole family emerge. This is probably my favourite wildlife encounter of the year and probably will be for some time!
- Looking for otter prints along the River Tyne.
There is so much to experience and explore. I hope that even more people get involved in the initiative next year. You really have nothing to lose and it is a wonderful way of encouraging everyone, especially the younger generation, to become interested in, and appreciate the value of, our local wildlife.
In you’re interested in participating next year, information will become available in April 2021 but don’t let that stop you today (http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/30DaysWildStayWild).