Get out­side and en­joy na­ture

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

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.lanc­

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.

Graeme Barnes

●● A robin tak­ing a rest

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