It is the 10th June today, meaning we are a third way through #30DaysWild. Like last June, it has been a relatively rainy month so far, but I have managed to do my ten random acts of wildness:
1. I signed up for two online environmental courses through FutureLearn. ‘Extinctions: Past and Present’ which starts on the 19th June. This course is run by the University of Cape Town and will explore how life on earth has been shaped by five mass extinction events in the distant past and the crisis that biodiversity is currently facing. The second course is ‘Elements of Renewable Energy’ which starts later in the year with the Open University. I will be studying renewable energy using the four Greek elements: Earth –the Earth’s renewable energy sources, Air – wind power, Fire – the direct power of the Sun and finally, Water – hydropower. I am very much looking forward to these, particularly the latter as on the 7th June 2017 the National Grid reported that power from wind, solar, hydro and wood pellet burning supplied 50.7% of UK energy – more than half of UK electricity for the first time!
2. One of my favourite lunch-time spots to visit when I am at work is Welford Road Cemetery. It is designated as a Local Wildlife Site and is actually listed Grade 2 in the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens, so it is used by many as a ‘park’. I spent by lunch break walking around the cemetery, taking in the views and spotting plenty of wild animals.
3. Although I love to be outdoors, I have got to admit that I am a bit of a shade-hunter… but I decided to make the most of the sun and actually stayed out in it all afternoon painting my Grandma’s shed. I, of course, wore plenty of sun-cream and a rather fetching hat!
4. Last year, I grew my own tomatoes for the first time and absolutely loved it! The plants were still going strong well in to October and I ended up making tomato chutney for Christmas! I decided not to grow any from seed this year as I only have a small yard and one suitable windowsill which has been taken up by chilli seedlings for a couple of months, but I was given some large tomato seedlings ready to plant out, so that’s what I did – replanted them in a grow-bag in my garden.
5. I have recently become a voluntary ‘Positive Impact Coordinator’ for the Environment Team at the University where I work. As part of my role, I organised a ‘Fruit & Veg cake sale’ in my office and also volunteered on the main cake stall at the annual Sustainability Festival. The event fell on World Environment Day and aimed to raise awareness of sustainable lifestyles whilst raising money for The Real Junk Food Project Leicester. The main event raised £60 and I managed to raise another £40 for them from my cake sale!
These are just some of the cakes that my workmates and I baked. The idea was that they each contained either a fruit or vegetable and at least one fair trade or ethically sourced ingredient. I made savoury cheese and courgette muffins and chocolate, carrot and cinnamon cupcakes with chocolate cinnamon buttercream!
6. I had quite a busy day, but managed to share some of my favourite wildlife footage from live cameras with my family and friends.
7. For a few weeks now, I have noticed a row of ants keeping busy at the bottom of some outdoor steps at work. The numbers have gradually been increasing and on the 7th I noticed that there were a lot more than I had previously seen, so watched and studied their actions for quite a while!
8. It was raining on and off, but having not spent much time outdoors recently, I decided it was time to do a random act of wildness in the fresh air! Luckily I managed to get out on my lunch break during a dry spell and walk around a local park.
9. A nice simple random act of wildness for the 9th. I gave my workmate two tomato plants that were going spare. I will definitely be asking for updates on their progress over the summer!
10. I sowed a virtual seed for Grow Wild! Grow Wild is the national outreach initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and is supported by the Big Lottery Fund. It is the UK’s biggest ever wild flower campaign and by sowing a virtual seed we can all help raise awareness of the importance of wild flowers and their impact on our well-being. So join me and the 20,385 other people so far by sowing a virtual seed too!
Throughout the last ten days I have also been continuing to check the NTU peregrine falcon live stream footage, which has become less active as the chicks become more and more independent and of course, I have been watching Springwatch! It has been brilliant seeing so many animals raising their young, watching wild birds fledge (including some jays) and learning how different birds and raptors nest! I absolutely love the kestrel nest in the side of Sherborne village church – it looks cosy, sheltered and gets lit up beautifully by the sun at times.
(Video from the Springwatch Facebook page)
One of my favourite stories on Springwatch so far has got to be the Salisbury Cathedral peregrines fostering an orphaned chick. It began with three peregrine chicks having to be rescued from a nest in Shropshire after the parent birds were found illegally killed! As a result, the orphaned chicks were fostered into carefully-selected nests in the wild – two went to a nest in the Midlands, and the third chick was fostered in the Salisbury Cathedral nest, which is currently being filmed and shown on Springwatch. The footage of the orphaned chick meeting the single chick at Salisbury Cathedral, snuggling down together, being instantly fed by the adult female and being accepted by both adults as their own was a joy to watch! You can read more about the story here.