Go wild – it’s good for you!
Will you be taking part in 30 Days Wild with The Wildlife Trust in June? Ann Evans points out just how good it is for us.
Now more than ever we’re appreciating being out in the fresh air, walking and enjoying everything nature has to offer. When lockdown was at its most strict, that daily walk was for many the highlight of the day – and for good reason.
Getting closer to nature is good for us. A new review by The Wildlife Trusts and the University of Derby has shown that the feel-good factor from simple daily contact with nature can last for months. Their findings also revealed very significant increases in ‘nature connectedness’ for those who began with a weak connection to nature. Their nature connectedness rose by 56%. 30 Days Wild also boosted the health of participants by an average of 30%; it made them happier and inspired significant increases in pro-nature behaviour.
The review is based on surveys completed by people taking part in 30 Days Wild – the UK’s biggest nature challenge which is run by The Wildlife Trusts and inspires daily acts of nature engagement every day during June.
Building on three peer-reviewed papers, the University of Derby has evaluated survey responses from more than 1,000 people over five years and discovered the enduring effects on wellbeing from participation in 30 Days Wild – the positive effects are still felt two months after the challenge is over.
Over a million people have taken part in 30 Days Wild during the last five years. Last year, 2019, was the most successful so far, attracting 400,000 participants. This June, The Wildlife Trusts believe the challenge will prove more popular than ever as the UK battles with social restrictions and people are looking for ways to keep spirits up and entertain young families. Whilst time spent outside may be limited, daily nature activities – even at home – can open a door to a world of sensory delights, from listening to birdsong or growing a pot of wildflowers on a windowsill.
30 Days Wild participants are provided with ideas, wallcharts and activity sheets that give everyone easy ways of enjoying nature whatever their location. These ‘random acts of wildness’ range from walking barefoot on grass, to sitting beneath a tree or watching birds on a feeder.
People of all ages can sign-up and download fun ideas, wallcharts, activity sheets and inspiration for going wild in nature during June. This year the campaign is 100% digital and everyone can download materials for free.
Professor Miles Richardson, Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness at the University of Derby, says: “This five-year evaluation of 30 Days Wild has produced remarkable results – it shows the positive power of simple engagement with nature. We were thrilled to see that the significant increases in people’s health and happiness were still felt even two months after the 30 Days Wild challenge was over.
“The Wildlife Trusts have shown the importance of doing simple things to enjoy everyday nature and that it can bring considerable benefits. What really stood out was how the people who didn’t feel a connection with nature at the outset were the ones who benefitted most from taking part in 30 Days Wild.”
Dom Higgins, head of health and education at The Wildlife Trusts, says: “Every June, The Wildlife Trusts get very excited to see people becoming closer to nature in their daily lives. With 30 Days Wild there’s so much fun, enchantment and inspiration to be had. Connecting with nature every day, in an easy way, is a must have for our own wellbeing. That’s why The Wildlife Trusts are campaigning for better, wilder places near to where we all live and work so that everyone, everywhere, can enjoy nature on the doorstep.
“Dare to be wild this June! We want to encourage people who are least likely to spend time in nature in their daily lives to take part in the 30 Days Wild challenge and give it a go – those people who do not feel much of a connection to nature – because we know that they’re the ones who will benefit most from doing it.
“Our lives have been changed by coronavirus and this is giving people a reason to reflect on our relationship with nature, the way we live our lives and how we spend our free time. Precious moments outside on a daily walk help us to relax and feel happier. Even watching wildlife from a window, or on a webcam, connects us to that sense of being a part of nature, not apart from it.”
The 2020 challenge has brand new downloads to enjoy, including:
- Wildlife gardening tips from Monty Don
- Beginner’s guide to wildlife photography from award-winning George Stoyle
- Wild fitness ideas from Zanna Van Dijk
The Big Wild Weekend events will focus on nature at home – on Saturday 20th June everyone’s invited to camp in their back garden or create a wild and beautiful nature den indoors!
Sign-up, download the inspiration and get ready to share your daily #30DaysWild now! www.warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/30DaysWild