How to get involved with 30 Days Wild in Yorkshire
- Credit: Emma Websdale
Are we all losing our connection with nature? This month, Yorkshire Life has teamed up with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to inspire everyone to try 30 Days Wild. The Trust’s Jess Charlton gets us started
Take a moment to list some of the things you do every day… eat breakfast, go to work, help the children with their homework, watch some television, tidy up and head to bed, may all feature. I imagine, spending time in nature, will be missing off most lists and this is something Yorkshire Wildlife Trust would like to help change.
30 Days Wild is your opportunity to do something wild every day for 30 days. It could be as simple as counting how many different bird songs you can hear on your daily dog walk, taking a meeting outside in the fresh air, setting aside some time to explore an urban park or identifying different species of butterfly. We call these activities ‘Random Acts of Wildness’ and if you need help with ideas, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust will be on hand to support you. Last year over 300,000 Random Acts of Wildness took place across the UK during 30 Days Wild.
We had a feeling that spending time in nature regularly would lead to people feeling good about themselves and more connected to wildlife and wild places. But we wanted to prove this. Across the country, Wildlife Trusts worked with the University of Derby to measure how ‘wild’ people were before they started 30 Days Wild, again when they’d just finished, and again two months later. We also measured their health and wellbeing. The results were amazing.
By asking people to make room for nature, every day, for 30 days and share their experiences with others, people reported feeling significantly healthier and happier not just for a short amount of time, but months after the challenge had finished. Taking part led to a sustained increase in connection to nature, bringing the associated benefits to health and happiness, while encouraging people to take action for nature such as volunteering or improving their garden for wildlife. That’s great news for wildlife, and great news for people.
This year, 30 Days Wild runs throughout June and there are plenty of opportunities to connect with nature here in Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Dales, Yorkshire Wolds and North Yorkshire moors are all spectacular places for wild walks with the family over a weekend.
A real adventure awaits you at Southerscales Nature Reserve near Settle. Here you can explore the great expanse of limestone ‘pavements’ – the same Yorkshire landscape which made a perfect (if slightly bumpy) camping spot for Harry Potter as he looked to evade the clutches of Voldemort in the Deathly Hallows. When wizards aren’t pitching their tents, it is home to wonderful orchids and, if you’re lucky, the glorious emperor moth.
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While planning great adventures can be exciting, it’s certainly worth exploring your local area as well. Is there somewhere you can dip your toes in the water and feel the flow? When was the last time you took your shoes and socks off and let the grass tingle between your toes? Why not take a tree safari? So often you walk past a tree yet fail to recognise it, why not remedy that by identifying them; the Trust’s website has wildlife spotter guides to help.
No matter the size of your garden, spending some time simply watching what wildlife you have on your doorstep can be enlightening. Don’t forget to watch at different times of the day. Insects such as the bright pink and custard yellow elephant hawk-moth may be hovering around your honeysuckle at dusk, and a strung-up white bedsheet and table lamp may entice other moths in the evening. You could also encourage more wildlife into your garden with a few simple improvements such as a bird feeder, bug hotel or small wood pile – perfect for insects such as earwigs that hedgehogs love to feed on.
There are plenty of wild places to explore both within and just outside our cities. Adel Dam, near Leeds, is a popular nature reserve and an excellent location to visit if you have never seen a kingfisher in the wild before. These lightning-fast, azure-blue birds breed on the reserve and June is a good time to see youngsters learning to feed.
Lunchtime is great for making time for nature at work. By heading out for a lunchtime stroll you could also discover a wild place you hadn’t realised was just around the corner. For those who are totally desk bound, why not change your screen saver to a different British bumblebee every-day?
It isn’t hard to engage children with wildlife, their natural curiosity kicks in automatically when they are outdoors; going on a bug hunt or making mud monsters are incredibly popular. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust runs lots of family friendly events, head to our website for all the details. Potteric Carr Nature Reserve in Doncaster and Staveley Nature Reserve near Harrogate are packed full of habitats to explore, with accessible paths for little ones. The Living Seas Centre at Flamborough is also a super base from which to explore the breath-taking headland or dive in to a bit of rock pooling. Many of the seabirds will still be around following their breeding season, you may be able to spot a puffin or two.
30 Days Wild is a challenge, you will be surprised how tricky it can be to make time for nature, so we have produced a daily planner free with this month’s magazine to help you plan your Random Acts of Wildness. We’ll also be celebrating the month long nature challenge across social media, so do join in with pictures, videos, and blogs using the hashtag #30DaysWild and don’t forget to let us know how you’re getting on @Yorkshire_Life and @YorksWildlife.
Signing up online is easy and we shall send you a 30 Days Wild pack that will include:
Random Acts of Wildness cards – bitesize bits of wild inspiration
A beautiful badge and funky stickers to show your love for the wild
Practical hints and tips on finding your wild life, with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Enter your code LIFE1 on the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust website to be entered into our exclusive prize draw, to win a mid-week or weekend break for you and your family to Center Parcs.
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is the only charity dedicated to conserving, protecting and enhancing your local wildlife. We manage 97 nature reserves and are supported by 40,000 members and 900 volunteers. Please consider supporting our work today www.ywt.org.uk.