#30DaysWild Days 1-10: Flower Power

The first ten days of #30DaysWild have been lovely.  My random acts of wildness have been gentle, calming and have allowed me to slow down and take time for myself.  Flowers have been prevalent during this first third of the challenge, as well as personal learning, which I believe is very important.

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1. To begin the month, I planted the #30DaysWild biodegradable paper flowers which are full of wildflower seeds, in my garden.  I am looking forward to seeing what grows.

2. On my walk home from work I spotted some eye-catching flowers growing at the edge of the pavement across the street.  They were pink and yellow and reminded me of rhubarb and custard sweets.  I took some photographs on my phone and then did some investigating and was able to ID them as Snapdragons!  This has inspired me to start learning how to identify flowers, I would love to be able to walk along and name the different flowers I see.

IMG_20180601_172116607_3© Snapdragons – the Green & the Wild

3. We had been planning for a while to take my grandma to Leicester Botanic Garden, as she had not been there for years.  Finally the weather was ideal enough for a visit, so my grandma, mum, boyfriend and I spent the afternoon there taking photographs, admiring the insects and of course, beautiful array of flowers.

4. To help with my flower ID mission and also relax me in the evenings, I bought a Kew Gardens dot-to-dot book.  It is based on original artworks and includes colour plates to help learn and accurately colour in the final drawings.

5. I have been out in my yard a few times with my bat detector this season, but have failed to pick up any echolocation signals.  I decided to try again on the 5th, but still nothing!  Last year I detected some pipistrelles flying above my house and the tree in my garden, but not very frequently so perhaps it’s simply down to timing.

6. After seeing puffins for the first time on Skomer Island back in May, I have fallen in love with them and keep seeing fantastic photos and learning things about them online.  Some of the information I read encouraged me to do my own research and three of my favourite puffin facts are:

  • Puffins usually pair up with the same partner every breeding season and may be together for 20 years!
  • In winter, puffins orange feet fade and they shed their outer colourful bills, leaving smaller, duller ones behind.  The colour grows back and returns ready for the next breeding season.
  • When it is not breeding season, puffins live out at sea for the rest of the year – floating on the waves, swimming and diving for small fish.

7. I decided to get learning again and do some more online environmental courses, so signed up to three on Futurelearn:

  • Unleash Your Potential: Sustainable Futures with the University of Bristol.  Through this I will learn about the sustainability challenges of the modern world, and ways in which I can make a positive contribution to society.
  • Citizen Science: Living Soils, Growing Food with the University of Dundee.  Through this I will learn about approaches to food growing that can help regenerate soil and solve environmental issues.
  • And in August I will start Concepts in Sustainable Development: An Introduction to the Key Issues with the University of Leicester, which will enable me to explore some of the key issues in sustainability, tackling the big questions with examples from around the world.

8. I ordered a free Guide to Animal Kindness from the RSPCA.  It is full of inspiration and ideas of how to be and encourage others to be #AnimalKind, such as picking up litter to prevent injuries or making your garden wildlife friendly.

9. I sowed a virtual seed with Grow Wild to pledge my support and help raise awareness of the importance of wild flowers and their impact on our wellbeing.  This year my seed ended up being a Ribwort Plantain.  Join me and sow a virtual seed too – you will be able to view the map and see how many other people have taken action to transform your area as well as the rest of the UK.

10. A splendid Sunday morning called for an outdoor stroll.  We thought it would be nice to have a walk around Thornton reservoir, but upon arrival realised that everyone else thought that too which meant there was nowhere to park!  We continued driving until we found a nice park, small woods and old village where we were able to get some fresh air!

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The Great British Bee Count

If you are buzzing about the start of #30DaysWild tomorrow, then here is something you can begin with!  Friends of the Earth are once again running their bee survey until the end of June, so you have 30 days to get involved.

All you have to do is download the free app, which is really easy to find, and then simply follow the steps:

  1. Wherever you are, whenever you spot a bee, open the app and click ‘submit a bee sighting’
  2. If possible, take a photo of the bee
  3. Use the ID guide in the app to find out which species of bee you have seen
  4. Record the weather and habitat that the bee is in
  5. Enter your postcode or GPS location
  6. Submit your sighting

There is clear evidence that bees are still declining, after a loss of 13 bee species in the UK since 1900!  Taking part in the Great British Bee Count can help build a detailed picture of the bee species around the country to inform the government, local authorities and researchers to make decisions and take the vital steps needed to hopefully reverse the decline.  I think this is a brilliant bit of citizen science, which not only helps wildlife, but also encourages learning and improves our identification skills and knowledge.

I have downloaded the app and will be recording my sightings throughout the #30DaysWild month.  Will you do the same?

Curb @Furygodmother_preview

 

Unleash Your Wild Side For #30DaysWild

sky @happy hippy d_preview

After enjoying a ‘wild’ week in Wales, exploring the nature of Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire (which I will be blogging about soon), I am feeling more inspired than ever to “make room for nature this June” for The Wildlife Trusts’ #30DaysWild challenge.  I have been writing about my random acts of wildness for the last two years during June and will be doing so again this year.  I signed up at the beginning of May and have received my pack, which has definitely given me motivation… so much so that I already have some ideas of what I will be doing.  I am really looking forward to getting started and recognising the simple and bold ways in which I decide to make nature part of my life each day.

To give you some ideas and hopefully inspire you to sign up too, here are 30 ways in which you could be wild this June:

1. Sketch / paint / draw an outdoor landscape

2. Read a book about nature / wildlife

3. Create a rainbow collage using pressed flowers and leaves

4. Write a poem inspired by nature

5. Practice patience by trying the art of stone balancing

6. Make a bumblebee nest (I love the teapot idea!)

7. Build an insect hotel

8. Design with plants

9. Try your hand at foraging

10. Open your eyes to nature through photography

11. Create some unique bark and outdoor texture rubbings

12. “Treat yo’self” and help a wildlife charity at the same time – upgrade your binoculars, buy something for your home, even adopt a species!

13. Go for a walk at lunchtime

14. Try outdoor yoga and / or meditation

15. Make your workplace green with plants and photos of wildlife to improve productivity

16. Explore a rock pool or shallow stream

17. Go bird watching

18. Do a butterfly count

19. Watch a wild webcam

20. Reduce your plastic usage to help save our oceans

21. Get up early to watch the sunrise, or stay out to watch the sunset

22. Eat your lunch / have a picnic in the great outdoors

23. Hunt for animal tracks

24. Learn to whistle with a blade of grass

25. Use homegrown herbs and flowers to make beauty products

26. Swim in the sea (if you are lucky enough to live near the coast or go on holiday)

27. Go on an ‘urban safari’ around your neighbourhood and look out for often overlooked wildlife

28. Do some environmental volunteering

29. Find a way to encounter a species you have never seen before

30. Literally “stop and smell the roses” or any other flower that takes your fancy – lilac is a favourite of mine!

If you like some of these ideas and are ready to join me and the 41,762 others (at the time of writing) who have signed up so far to take on the wild challenge, then click here to order your pack!  You will receive a brilliant wall-chart to track your acts as well as some lovely stickers and lots of ideas for the 30 days.  You can take part on your own, with your friends and family, colleagues or classmates – however you want to do it, be wild and have fun!

30DAYSWILD_ID2 lightorange_preview

30 Days Wild 11-20

June has not been the warm, sunny month I had hoped for, but it has not stopped me from going wild for the #30DaysWild challenge.  Not all of my activities have been outdoors, but I have certainly been learning a lot and developing an interest in new topics.

11. I did some extensive reading on the subject of Habitat Management in the UK, including general principles, management planning, surveying, monitoring and research.

12. I watched some fantastic LIVE wildlife footage online.  I tend to go into a different world when I do this and feel so close to the creatures I am watching.

13. A creative act of wildness! I added this British Wildflower drawing to my sketchbook:

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© the Green & the Wild

14. I withdrew some ‘wild’ books from the library: ‘Why Big Fierce Animals are Rare’, ‘Managing Habitats for Conservation’ and ‘British Plant Communities – Woodlands and Scrubs’.

15. I once again embraced the rain and this time stood outside in it (under an umbrella) for over a hour and actually felt very content.

16. Once the patio had dried, I did a Sun Salutation yoga sequence in my garden.

17. After getting rid of an aphid-infested plant, there had been a gap for something new in my garden, so as a slight experiment, I planted a cutting from an unknown plant that someone gave me.  Lets hope it grows and turns into something beautiful.

18. I visited one of my favourite places in my city for a peaceful walk – the University of Leicester Botanic Garden. With their extensive collection of plants and wildlife, I managed to take a few decent photos too.

19. I relived my childhood by spotting and catching little frogs with my dad and sister in her new garden.

20. As I am starting a new job at a university next month, I am eager to get involved with as much as I can, so I contacted Hungry for Change – a growing project that aims to change the way staff and students think about what they’re eating and why.  It has a 40m x 40m plot including 9 large raised beds, a huge herb bed, a soft fruit area teaming with different fruit bushes, a 22m edible hedge, a 12ft greenhouse and a south facing wall complete with cordon apple trees and their very own Fig tree.  I will be meeting with the Project Coordinator in the next couple of weeks and will hopefully have some interesting experiences and developments to blog about in the future!

 

30 Days Wild 1-10

With the familiar intro tune of Springwatch filling my living room every evening, the beginning of June has certainly been nature-packed and I have managed to do something wild each day as part of the Wildlife Trusts #30DaysWild challenge.  I admit that some activites have been a little less wild than others, but all of my ‘Random Acts of Wildness’ have connected me to nature and made me happy.

So what have I done so far?

1. Using books and the internet, I managed to identify trees near my house from leaves I collected.

2. I took a longer walk home from work and tuned into the birdsong on my route and also admired all of the unnoticed wild flowers and plants growing on the pavement.  I even found some poppies!

3. Day three was pretty busy, but I still managed to buy a beautiful succulent houseplant to add to my collection.

4. A long-awaited weekend off! I visited Welford Road Cemetery with my binoculars and spent a while bird watching and walking around the meadow area.

5. I took a trip to Middleton Lakes RSPB reserve.

Middleton Lakes in located just south of Tamworth, in the Tame Valley.  Having been acquired in 2007, it is a relatively new RSPB site, but it has been beautifully restored and is a lovely reserve which homes a wonderful array of birds and wildlife, from tufted ducks and smews to butterflies, wetland plants and even otters (which I unfortunately did not see). The RSPB states that it will become the most important site for breeding waders in the Midlands.

The reserve benefits the visitors as well as wildlife, so there are plenty of areas for bird watching and photography, such as reedbeds, meadows, lakes, woodlands and one of my favourite features – the new Lookout hide, which overlooks the scrapes.

Open from dusk until dawn, there are a lot of things to see and countless birds to listen to at Middleton Lakes.  Entrance costs £3 or RSPB members get in for free.

© the Green & the Wild

6. Having enjoyed identifying trees earlier in the week, I challenged myself to identify as many birds as I could from their calls.  I only knew 3/7 and have always been eager to learn more, so searched and found some brilliant apps for identifying birds and plants- BirdUp and PlantNet.  BirdUp works very well and is quick to identify the bird you have heard – it occasionally suggests two or three options, but it all depends on background noise.  PlantNet seems to have potential, but doesn’t directly tell you the plant – it provides you with many suggestions which you have to search through.

7. I discovered some interesting insects on my rose bush and after some investigation, I realised that they were ladybird larvae.  I was amazed and shocked that I had never seen them before!

8. This was another busy day which ended with a job interview, so after walking in the sweltering heat to visit my Grandma for her birthday, I decided that my random act of wildness would be to simply walk barefoot and sit outside in her garden. Simply lovely.

9. I had been growing tomatoes in my utility room over May and felt it was time to put them outside, so I replanted the best ones in their grow-bag in my garden (just in time for all the rain!)

10. RAIN! So much rain! I did the only thing you can do when caught in a downpour and doing the #30DaysWild challenge – I ran and laughed in it with my friends!

#30DaysWild

This June, the Wildlife Trusts is running a month-long nature challenge – doing something wild every day.  Making nature part of your life is very important and you can still sign up here to feel happier an healthier this month.

I have signed up and am raring to go with my wall-chart.  I will be blogging about my Random Acts of Wildness and I would love to hear what you all do too.

#30DaysWild ideas

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Watch the sun rise and set
  3. Plant wildflowers
  4. Make a bee waterer
  5. Build an insect hotel
  6. Go bird watching
  7. Watch live footage of wild animals
  8. Recycle
  9. Volunteer and #dosomethinggreat
  10. Visit a local nature reserve
  11. Photograph wildlife
  12. Sketch outdoors
  13. Write a poem about nature
  14. Have a picnic in the wild
  15. Go camping
  16. Forage for wild garlic and cook something delicious
  17. Go berry picking
  18. Feed the birds
  19. Cut a hedgehog hole in your fence
  20. Learn how to skim stones
  21. Climb a tree
  22. Press flowers and leaves
  23. Explore a rockpool
  24. Climb a hill or mountain
  25. Learn how to identify trees/birds/flowers
  26. Read a wild book
  27. Inhale the scent of the outdoors
  28. Walk barefoot through the grass
  29. Collect fallen feathers
  30. Grow your own fruit and veg

For more ideas and information, click here.