The Wildlife Trusts' annual challenge – 30 Days Wild – calls on everyone to go wild every day in June.
This year looks set to be bigger and wilder than ever. So far a record number of 60,000 people, families, schools, businesses and care homes throughout the UK have signed up to receive a free pack of ideas and to take part.
30 Days Wild encourages everyone to enjoy nature in our neighbourhoods through daily Random Acts of Wildness: listening to bird song, gazing at butterflies, growing borage for bees and making the most of our parks, gardens and school grounds. Evidence shows that taking part can also make us happier and healthier.
Ellie Harrison, presenter of Countryfile and President of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, said: “Being outside in nature makes us all well. The smallest moments connecting - the surprise of a beetle revealing its wings; the fleeting secrets of bats at dusk; or the puff of valuable pollen from flowers we saw as weeds - all bring us wonder and enchantment.
"This June we’re challenging you to a Random Act of Wildness every single day of the month. What will you be delighted by?”
James McVey of The Vamps said: “30 Days Wild is a fantastic challenge and everyone can take part - whether it’s building a den, listening to the dawn chorus or visiting a favourite wild place, enjoying our wonderful wildlife can help us to feel happier and healthier, I’ll be joining in this June!”
Dr Amir Khan from Channel 5’s GPs Behind Closed Doors said: “Spending time outdoors, enjoying wildlife on our doorstep and in our communities is free and can benefit our mental and physical health in so many ways.
"Spend a few moments every day in June taking part in random acts of wildness – notice something new in nature, climb a tree or create space for nature in your neighbourhood - The Wildlife Trusts has lots of ideas and inspiration to help you make the most of the 30 Days Wild challenge. Go Wild!”
Happier and healthier
The Wildlife Trust’s Leanne Manchester said: “30 Days Wild is a much-loved challenge and it’s set to be an exciting month for everyone taking part. Experiencing a moment of nature every day on our doorstep or during lunchtime at work is elating in June when wildlife is so active and visible.
"Take time out to sit in a wild spot, enjoy the sunset or feel cool grass between your toes – June is such a beautiful month and the perfect time to go a bit wild.”
The impact of taking part in 30 Days Wild has been tracked by academics at the University of Derby. Their study found that people who did something ‘wild’ each day for a month, felt happier, healthier and more connected to nature, with added benefits for the natural world too.
Miles Richardson from the University of Derby said: “Our research looked at the impact of 30 Days Wild on 1000 people, two months after completing the challenge.
"All those taking part benefitted, feeling 30 percent healthier than when they started on average. People who reported a disconnect from nature and who spend less time outdoors, showed the greatest improvement in happiness and pro-conservation behaviours.
“At a time when poor mental health is on the rise and the decline of our wildlife show no sign of slowing down, 30 Days Wild demonstrates what a much-needed new relationship with nature might look like, for everyone, throughout the year.”
This year 30 Days Wild is encouraging care homes to share the joy of nature with their residents. For the first time, there’s a specially tailored activity pack and over 350 care homes have so far signed up to take part.
Among them is the Your Health Ltd group, which has ten care homes across England and trialled 30 Days Wild activities last year. The homes saw some remarkable benefits as a result of taking part, with residents experiencing less anxiety and fewer falls.
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust volunteer Louise Baker, who trialled activities in the residential homes last year, said: “It doesn’t matter where our homes are, each will take something from the challenge and no two days, or activities will be the same.
"Our homes occupy urban streets, landscaped parkland and rural locations - one home will enjoy the birdsong heard in its suburban garden, while another will record wildlife that thrives in its wildflower meadow and orchard. We are looking forward to another magical month.”
Sign-up to 30 Days Wild is still open, download a free pack! Over the next month, thousands of wonderful experiences will be shared on social media. Take a look at #30DaysWild @30DaysWild and see how daily connections with nature are inspiring people to enjoy the wild world around them wherever they live.
Marianne Brooker is content editor for The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from the Wildlife Trust.
Image: Stockypics, Flickr.