getting away from it: I’m a townie. I’ve lived and worked in them all my life,
some of my favourite holiday memories are city-based and I love nothing more
than wandering the streets of London, heading to the theatre and having my pick
of restaurants and bars.
lockdown has made most of this impossible and like lots of people I’ve had to
adapt to that horrible buzz phrase everyone is now obliged to use – the new
Some days are
good, some not so much. But what all this nonsense has done is force me to
reconnect with my bike, my tiny patio garden and the parks closest to my house.
I also now walk along part of the Thames towpath every morning. In fact, this
walk is fast becoming non-negotiable for my overthinking, anxious brain.
Balance is another overused word at the moment, but clichés become clichés for
As anyone who
follows me on Instagram will know, all of this has led me to seek out the
wildlife on my doorstep: the two-day old cygnets that just hatched in Kingston;
the protected area for skylarks in Bushy Park; the deafening sound of
woodpeckers (I don’t know which variety because I’ve yet to catch them on
camera) in Home Park.
I’m not original
in this, of course. Lockdown has forced many of us to explore what’s in front
of us, to rely on the small, day-to-day changes that remind us that time does
pass, that nature continues to thrive despite a disease that none of us can see
and many of us might be carrying without even knowing.
This desire to
pay closer attention had started to build before lockdown, having got involved
in last year’s 26 Trees project with The Woodland Trust and this year’s 26 Wild
project with The Wildlife Trusts. However, there’s no doubt that lockdown has
led to the happy remembering that I don’t have to get out into the Surrey Hills
(while stunning) or the High Weald to connect with nature.
All of which is
why I’ve signed up to The Wildlife Trusts’ annual 30 Days Wild
campaign. At time of
writing, more than 70,000 people have signed up, making a promise to themselves
that they will do one wild thing a day for 30 days throughout June. That number
includes an incredible 896 care homes – up from 570 last year and proof of just how a
little nature can go a long way at any time of life.
you choose don’t have to be big, either. When you make your pledge, The
Wildlife Trusts send you a pack of materials – particularly handy for families –
and loads of ideas, such as take a meal outside, or go plastic free for a day,
to get you started.
I wanted to find
out more about the campaign, so I spoke to the woman in charge, Abbie
Hargreaves, to find out why this campaign exists. Here’s what she told me:
Trusts’ annual 30 Days Wild campaign exists to connect people with the nature
on their doorsteps for their own wellbeing, but also so they appreciate and
care for it, harnessing this love into action.
“This year more
than ever, we want people to stay in contact with the natural world – it’s such
a tonic in these bizarre circumstances. We’ve researched the challenge’s
impacts over the last five years and found that participants are significantly
happier and healthier even months after taking part, which is incredible!”
Like all of us,
Abbie and the team have had to make some adaptations in light of lockdown: “We’ve
had to make everything digital,” she explains. “We usually provide a free
postal pack of goodies like wildflower seeds and stickers, but they
unfortunately haven’t been able to go ahead. We’ve adapted our random acts of
wildness to make sure everyone can still take part despite the current
restrictions on contact and travel, so each activity can be adapted for
So, why not join
me and 70,000 (and counting) other people and sign up! And, if you do, come and
share your random acts of wildness with 26 – we’re on Twitter and Instagram and don’t forget to use the hashtag #30DaysWild.
The digital part
of our 26 Wild project kicks off officially on 1 September 2020, but we’ll be
sharing all sorts of things across our channels in the run up and have created
a dedicated 26 Wild Facebook page – many of our project writers have joined but it is
open to anyone who would like to find out more about our project and share in
our mutual love of nature and wildlife.
– Lisa Andrews
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