30 Days Of Wild: Idea 5 Listen to a podcast

Todays act of wild is an easy option and one for if for whatever reason you can’t get outside. Today I’m recomending a number of wild podcasts. Podcasts give an opportunity to hear bout nature on your way to work, while making breakfast or have a listen as you drift off to sleep. Here are a few I enjoy.

RSPB

Woodland trust

Planet Puffin.

Tweet of the day

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Lots of my favourite gardening podcasts often have a focus on wildlife.

https://rootsandall.co.uk/thepodcast/

Gardens, weeds and words

Hope you are enjoying your 30 days wild. Share what you’re up to in the comments.

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30 Days of Wild: Idea 3 Hug a tree

Today’s wild act is a very quick one. Although it still comes with many benefits. Get out and touch a tree, give it a hug. If you don’t feel like giving a tree a hug you can gain benefits from just watching. Just having trees in sightlines can improve depression, health levels and concentration. But getting the feel of the tree has been shown to help encourage mindfulness and build your connection with nature. Then take a moment to watch the life on the tree.

If you fancy doing something extra you could try and work out the age of the tree. On average a tree in an open space grows 2.5cm a year. Bring your tape measure out and see if you can work the age out.

 

I hope you’re getting involved in 30 days. Let me know in the comments what you’ve been up to.
https://themindunleashed.com/2013/07/tree-hugging-now-scientifically.html

https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/how-hugging-trees-can-give-you-a-natural-high/

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30 Days of Wild: Idea 2-Wildlife survey

For my second 30 days wild idea I’d recommend taking part in a citizen science wildlife survey. Spending the time tracking wildlife in your area can help give valuable data on the rises and falls in populations that can then be used to help protect wildlife. Without the numbers to show the decline in wildlife, it is very hard to seek protection. That is the serious side of these surveys but they are great fun to do. It is a great chance to get outside and over several years of contributing to a number of these my knowledge of the natural world has improved massively. I’ve taken Alice along on many of my hunts and then others such as the Big Schools’ Birdwatch I’ve done in my professional capacity as a teacher.

Bee 4

There are many that happen through the year: The Big Garden Birdwatch, The New Year plant hunt and the big butterfly count. But these are all outside of June. Normally I’ve taken part in Friends of the Earth’s Great British Bee hunt but this year they are not running it. They have however listed other surveys you can take part in. iRecord is one I’ve used before. You can submit your sightings and they can be verified by experts. Through iRecord you contribute to numerous projects such as the ladybird survey tracking the spread of invasive species. Buglife is looking for bee-flies this year. Fabulous insects to watch with their long tongues.

https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bee-count/bee-surveys-record-bees-and-help-science

For birds, the BTO provides bird track. You can download an app that allows you to track your bird sightings. This data then provides a National picture of the spread of birds.

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The Peoples Trust for Endangered Species is tracking mammals. If you fancy tracking hedgehogs, foxes, deer and more check this out. I was very excited to discover hedgehogs in my garden previously and there is always something exciting about sightings wild mammal. I don’t know if it’s the size or the rarity size but it’s always a joy.

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Kit

It’s useful to have a field guide to help identity whatever you choose to track. I favour the Collins series but there are many good ones. The RSPB first book of series is very good for children. My class love using them and it’s always amazing what they report seeing on our small playground. I never knew we had so many eagles and puffins. If you don’t want to spend a fortune there often available second hand. I bought a large pile from the charity shop for Alice who loves flicking through them.

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Binoculars and magnifying glasses come in use for adding a sense of adventure to the children and are useful in identifying. My camera is vital as I like to write up my findings after.

If I’ve not convinced you to give a survey a go here is a BBC Earth article telling you why you should take part. I hope you get out there and make your contribution to science.

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30 Days Wild-sign up time

It’s that time of the year again when I start preparing for a month of wildness. I originally set up this blog in support of the Wildlife Trust’s 30 day days wild initiative. Through June the WIldlife Trusts encourage you to do one wild act each day. This can be as simple as cloud gazing, finding something blue. Or you may actually get out to a reserve or go on a day out in nature. It is a great way to connect with our natural world. Connecting with nature in this way has been shown to improve happiness, reduce stress and make you more mindful of the world around you. But mainly it’s good fun. There isn’t any pressure to do something every day but there are basic enough ideas you should be able to manage something.

I signed up for the school pack. This comes with some lovely ideas on large cards. There is a pack of information, posters, stickers and a colouring wall sheet. Alice wants to steal the wild teacher badge from me so I don’t know how long I’ll manage to hold onto that.

People who have followed the blog for a while will know I’ve taken part for several years now. Earlier in the year, I was asked if one of my previous wild acts could be used in a book the Wildlife Trust was putting out for 30 days. The book is now out. 365 days wild by Lucy McRobert lists lots of ideas, as the name suggests, of things to do through the year to connect with nature. The book has been put together well. Attractively designed, it features many photos and details of the wild acts. It’s a book you can settle down to read or just flick through to get inspiration.

I’m proud to have a small entry within the book from my previous years taking part in 30 days wild. I wrote a haiku as one of my previous wild acts. There is a description of how to write a haiku and then my little effort at the bottom of the page. The family have taken the mick that it was just this small entry, but then they’re not published poets like I now am. Took me at least two minutes work.

30 Days Wild is great fun to take part in. There are great online communities through Twitter and Facebook sharing their efforts. I highly recommend signing up.  Never been a greater need to show appreciation for nature.

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Living Seas Centre Flamborough-Birthday Party

Today we’d been invited to our neighbour’s daughters birthday party. She works for the Wildlife Trust at the Living Seas Centre in Flamborough and the party was held there. This made a nice change from going to pick up a new disease at another soft play party. Pretty much every time we visit soft play Alice returns with a new cold. I hadn’t visited the centre since it was updated. We tend to go to Bempton on the way to Amy’s dads as it is just of the route. So it was good to get out and see the centre. The plan for the day was rock pooling followed by food.

As we walked down the lifeboat was being towed back to the boat Lifehouse. It’s been a bit of a grey day but luckily not too windy as Flamborough can be unforgiving a bad day. Everyone was dressed for the occasion wellies and waterproofs.

The tractor gets a hose down as it comes back to wash the salt off and stop it rusting up.

The group making their way down to the rockpools.

The birthday girl and her dad.

Alice had a good go walking across the seaweed. She needed a bit of carrying to get down to the shore but did pretty well as one of the youngest. Not easy rock pooling when it comes higher up on you than everyone else.

She needed a few snacks on the way to prevent the grumps. She’d had an early morning and we’d tried filling her up before heading out but clearly not enough. Can never keep a two-year-old full for long.

The guides from the Wildlife Trust were very knowledgeable pointing out different finds as we went.

Alice braved giving the crab a stroke though she wasn’t quite ready to hold it.

We’d been supplied clipboards with ID guides of different things we might find. Between the guides and the group, I think we saw everything on the list.

Alice liked the current artwork outside the centre and enjoyed pointing out all the creatures she could name.

Back at the centre Amy and I warmed up with a cuppa while Alice checked out the tray of finds.

In the centre’s education room, Alice enjoyed crafts colouring and making a plate butterfly model.

Alice enjoyed a jammy dodger.

Alice liked the viewing window watching the birds investigating the bug hotel. Lots of dunnocks and blue tits going in and out of a nest box.

We went outside to gather round to sing happy birthday to the birthday girl.

We had a lovely time and Alice was sorry to go with the usual screams as we drove off telling us she didn’t want to go home. The centre has a good set up and worth visiting. There are regular events for both children and adults if you fancy having the expertise of one of the Trusts guides. With 30 days Wild set to begin it’s a good time to be planning a trip to a reserve. I hope the birthday girl enjoyed herself and we were thankful for the invite. A much more civilised way to spend a kiddies birthday party.

RSPB-Let Nature Sing

The RSPB are looking to draw attention to nature. 165 species are critically endangered not to mention those whose numbers have just dropped. They are aiming to get bird song into the music charts to show support for protecting and helping nature. Let Nature Sing is set to be released on the 26th May with purchases up to the 2nd of May counting towards that weeks chart figures.

Available on google play.

Available on Amazon.

Also available on itunes.

As a download it only costs 99p and there isn’t much you can do with 99p these days. For 99p you can show support for nature at a time when it is most needed. You can also show support on social media with the hashtag #LetNatureSing If we don’t protect nature now we may no longer be able to enjoy simple pleasures such as the dawn chorus.

Please support and share your support through your social media of choice.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/campaigning/let-nature-sing/

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Dorset holiday part 4

Our next trip out on our Dorset adventure took us to the New Forest Wildlife Park. While I do favour seeing animals in their natural environments some I would never get the chance to see. The New Forest Wildlife Park has many animals that are rescue animals that have required a home to survive. While the ethics of keeping animals in this way is hotly debated as more and more animals become endangered captive animals may offer opportunities for reintroducing species back to the wild.

We were greeted by a bear.

The park holds a number of species of owl and these were some of the first animals we saw. Alice was still riding high on the coattails of seeing the Gruffalo characters the day before and was excited to see the owls again. As mentioned before I have a fondness for owls.

Having recently read Simon Cooper’s excellent book, “the otters’ tale” I was excited to see the otters at the park. The park has several species: the Asian short-clawed otter, giant otters and the North American Otters. Our native otter Lutra lutra was absent. But I enjoyed seeing the otters on offer bounding around. Truly amazing animals. Slick through the water and bounding playfully on land.

Alice was quick to spot them.

Inside we found the rather cute harvest mice and hedgehogs. I’m glad to say Alice correctly identified both.

The park feeds the birds in the forest. Blue tits and great tits were enjoying the feeders.

Underneath the feeders a taste of the wild, Rattus Norvegicus, the brown rat. While generally not a welcome visitor it was good to see this animal moving around the forest floor.

The lynx was very accomadating for photos.

Alice stopped for a brief break with Amy.

Wallabies roam the enclosure with you.

Alice was keen to spot the wolves with her binoculars, but no luck.

Another wild invader of the park.

Alice enjoyed digging in the play area.

The bees are starting to come out in greater numbers a sure sign Spring is here.

We didn’t make it round all the animals. There were more deer and bison across the other side of the park, but we didn’t think Alice’s legs would take any more.

Before heading back to the house we stopped off at IKEA for a few things for Alice’s room. It was just a short journey on from the park. While it was hell on Earth for me Alice seemed to think it was just a giant soft play area.

Once back at the house a tired Alice tucked herself into the blanket.

One last day to discuss of the holiday and then that’s the lot.