30 Days Wild: Day 13-snap something blue

For today’s 30 days wild idea I’ve gone with an easy one I’ve done in previous years. Try to take a photo of something blue. If it’s a nice day you hopefully have the easy option of a quick photo of the sky.

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Or how about a cornflower.

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Or spend a bit of time chasing damselflies trying for a photo.

What can you find in nature that is blue today?

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30 Days Of Wild: Idea 8-Hedgehog Hole

Modern new build houses frequently have brick walls or fences impenetrable to many small mammals, particularly hedgehogs. Hedgehogs travel, on average, one mile a night to look for food. If we are putting up solid obstacles we restrict their access to food.

This can easily be solved with hedgehog holes. A few minutes with a saw can cut a hole in the gate or fence to give hedgehogs access. It doesn’t need to big. The size of a CD will do.

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A hole for hedgehogs.

Alternatively, you can dig a small hole under the fence. A word of warning, ask neighbours and don’t dig holes through to gardens if they have pets likely to hurt the hedgehogs or get through themselves. If you have fence panels this can be trickier but commercial options are available to make it easier.

It took me a couple of minutes cutting a hole in the gate and since then I’ve had hedgehogs visiting on a regular basis.

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For more information check out the wonderful hedgehog street and become a hedgehog champion. Hedgehogs are super for gardeners. They eat a large number of garden pests saving your much-loved plants. Well worth welcoming into our gardens.

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30 Days Wild: Idea 7 Visit a reserve

As part of 30 days wild, I’ve come to appreciate the nature on my doorstep. But it is always nice to get out for the day to see something different, something you don’t get to see every day. As 30 days is the Wildlife Trusts initiatives I’d recommend getting out to one of their many reserves. They have a whole host of habitats on offer. With reserves covering woodland, meadows, coastal sites, wetlands you are spoilt for choice. Going to a reserve provides opportunities to support the Trust. Visitor numbers are important as well as a chance to support by buying a cuppa or souvenir if there is a visitors centre or just giving a donation. Plus you get the chance to enjoy wildlife you don’t always get the chance to see.

Our recent trip to Flamborough offered us a chance to see crabs and other sea creatures we can’t find on Hornsea beach as easily.

North Cave Wetlands is one of my favourite local spots. The wetlands attract lots of birds but it’s the insect life I love seeing.

The RSPB also offer many reserves up and down the country. We often pop into Bempton Cliffs on the way back from Amy’s dad. It’s just off the route and breaks up the journey. We get to see nesting seabirds we’d be unlikely to come across otherwise. If you have a long journey it is worth checking out the reserve list to see if there is anywhere like this you can stop off to break up the journey and de-stress.

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The Forestry Commission has many locations across the UK providing for walkers, bikers and many outdoor pursuits. There’s no telling what you might find.

I haven’t been to the Wetlands in a little while so I’m hoping to make it there again during these 30 days. Have you got any trips planned?

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30 Days of Wild: Idea 6-Meditate in the wild

One of the great aspects of taking part in 30 days wild and connecting with nature is that it helps lower stress levels. Meditating outside can only enhance this. Even just taking ten minutes to sit in the garden and practise mindful breathing exercises can help lower stress. The more regularly you can manage this the better but even once a week is better than nothing.

I’ve practised meditation for over a decade and use numerous techniques but I mainly come back to following the breath. If it was good enough for the Buddha it’s good enough for me.

  1. First breath in concentrating on the word in, then breath out concentrating on the word out. I prefer to sit kneeling, but cross-legged or on a straight-backed chair with feet flat on the ground is fine. I tend not to lie down as this encourages sleep rather than meditation.
  2. Your breath will fall into a natural rhythm that feels right to you.
  3. As you go on normally your breathing will become deeper and lower.
  4. If your mind wanders come back to the words in and out.
  5. Continue for as long as you feel comfortable. When finished take your time getting back up.

Alternatively counting the breath creates a focus for many. Breath in counting 1, breath out, breath in 2, all the way to 10. Then start back at 1. If you lose count return to 1.

There are many basic guides on meditation and mindfulness. I still favour Thich Nhat Hanh’s the miracle of mindfulness. I have just picked up love letters to the Earth. While this is a few years old now it seems like a good choice for the challenges currently facing us.

 

https://www.pocketmindfulness.com/6-mindfulness-exercises-you-can-try-today/

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.

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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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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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