• vikki-houlden

30 Days Wild (and 30 Days More)

Every June I see posts about The Wildlife Trust's 30 Days Wild Campaign, and promise I'll join in next year. This year was the first time I actually got round to signing up and taking part, and now I'm questioning why I didn't do it sooner. And I can't be the only one- from 25,000 participants in 2016 [1], this year saw over 760,000 people joining in [2]!


If you're not familiar with the concept, 30 Days Wild challenges you to do 'one wild thing' every day throughout June. Activites are suggested which help us connect with nature, including noticing, sharing, doing, and connecting, but it's up to you how you choose to get wild each day. The aim is to encourage people to value nature more highly, with benefits for nature connection, health, and happiness [3].


Here is some of what I got up to:





I really enjoyed taking notice of what was around me on daily walks, or on a trip. Having to be on the lookout for something to share, and avoiding posting the same thing, meant that I was automatically becoming more aware of my surroundings, and particularly noticing the everyday nature of a woodland walk, birdsong in the trees, and the colours reflecting across a feather. I also spotted some beautiful wildlife, including a hedgehog (which broke and entered my garden very loudly at 2am), a deer standing stock still just on the edge of the woods, a robin tweeting from a branch, and a bee enjoying the yellow poppies in my garden. Other activities included beach walks, garden yoga, and making friends with the neighbourhood cats.


At the end of the 30 Days, I found I was so much more aware of the world around me. I've made a real effort not to look at my phone or keep my earphones in while on walks- things I always say I'm going to do, but tend to slip up on. Immersing all my senses helped so much with being present, too, as it's so easy just to look with your eyes. But listening to birds and trees, breathing in the fresh air, feeling the breeze on your skin or the sand between your toes, tasting the flavours of your food, are all easy things we can do to connect with nature and potentially improve our happiness. I'll definitely be carrying on taking notice for the next 30 days, and the 30 after that...







References:

[1] Richardson, M. and McEwan, K., 2018. 30 Days Wild and the relationships between engagement with nature’s beauty, nature connectedness and well-being. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, p.1500.

[2] https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/30dayswild, Accessed 9th June 2021

[3] Richardson, M., Cormack, A., McRobert, L. and Underhill, R., 2016. 30 days wild: Development and evaluation of a large-scale nature engagement campaign to improve well-being. PloS one, 11(2), p.e0149777.

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