Get outside and enjoy nature
OVER the weekend I was walking along our local river when I spotted a deer under a bridge. The deer ran out from under the bridge and then up the banking and away into the woods. Later that day I was walking through the back gate into our garden and a robin was demanding food, literally a foot away from me.
I sat down and thought about both of these not-so-rare sights then realised that I am lucky, a lot of people just don’t have these wildlife experiences – and never have. The heartbreaking thing is that lots of children have never been exposed to the wonderful nature that we have all around us.
OK, it’s not Attenborough meeting the whales and wolves, but any exposure to the environment is beneficial to us all.
At the moment The Wildlife Trusts, nationally, are running a ‘30 Days Wild’ challenge to encourage people to get out of their homes every day in June.
It isn’t too late to join and you can still get your free packs, with lots of goodies, from our website at www.lancswt.org.uk.
This is a brilliant campaign which has many benefits for everyone involved. It gets people out of their houses into the fresh air, taking part in healthy exercise, spotting some beautiful wildlife and discovering more about the area in which they live.
The whole thing ties in with The Wildlife Trusts’ campaign to persuade the government to create a Nature and Wellbeing Act which will benefit people and wildlife in this country.
Obviously I am lucky that getting out and about is just a part of my job. Over recent weeks I have searched for bilberry bees in White Coppice, helped out at a Forest School in Moston, worked alongside office staff on a pond clearance and toured our wonderful Wigan and Salford wetlands with experts advising me on what I could see.
Every day I take the dog for a walk and encounter astounding sights and sounds – song thrushes singing, woodpeckers knocking on wood, foxes carrying their prey and herons seeking small mammals in grassy fields. It wasn’t long ago that I found an injured skylark, which I managed to nurse back to health and release into the wild.
I thought the poor little chap would die within hours of me finding him, yet he survived and would sing happily in the sunshine in his hospital cage until his release. As he recovered I would carry him into the kitchen for flying lessons. As awesome experiences go, this was magnificent.
I understand that getting children ready and out and about in all weathers is a challenge but I see the kids on our reserves and the beaming smiles on their faces makes it worth all the trouble. And there is a good chance that spending that day out will also have major health benefits for them in the future.
We must all take encouragement from the volunteers who work for The Wildlife Trust. These men and women, ranging from 16 to 86, are proving that being outdoors is a boost for health, happiness and your education.
The 30 Days Wild campaign is flexible, allowing participants to create their own goals and limits but it will open doors to the most wonderful experiences right on your own doorstep.
If you are involved, give a shout on email, Facebook or Twitter and tell us what random acts of wildness you have tried today.
●● A robin taking a rest