30 Days Wild - can you make room for nature this June?
PUBLISHED: 11:47 01 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:47 01 June 2017
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's Louise Baker and her family grab adventure with both hands
On day 30, as we watched the caterpillars we’d been nurturing all month hatch out as butterflies, a sense of belonging washed over my children and me. They gently flexed their wings for the first time and tasted the air with curly tongues, and we’d been there to watch it all happen. This morning’s great hatching, as it shall forever be known, came at the end of a wild month, in which we’d aimed to embrace nature every day in one way or another. 30 Days Wild, an initiative launched by The Wildlife Trusts and now in its third year, has taught us that nature is something we all need to explore, no matter how tentatively, and that it’s far easier to engage with wildlife than you may think.
Welcome to our 30 Days Wild…
We love living in Derbyshire, and have never felt more blessed than when it comes to exploring the landscapes on our doorstep; woodlands, meadows, vast parks and beautiful lakes are all within easy reach, as well as rugged hillsides that we’ve yet to tackle with two small children – aged three and a half and one and a half. I have been lucky enough to become involved with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust in recent months and have developed a greater appreciation for nature because of it; I now find it impossible to walk past a bush without first inspecting its residents, for example.
The Wildlife Trusts’ June initiative, 30 Days Wild, was a blessing for my family. All we had to do was commit to achieving one random act of wildness a day, whether that was jumping in a puddle, listening to birdsong or eating lunch outside. Easy, right? That’s the thing about wildlife; it’s all around us no matter where we live and adventures into the wild can be as involved or as simple as we wish. Last June we did it all; we’ve been on bear hunts in the woods, watched a wild webcam, fed the birds, picnicked in the park, fallen asleep to a twilight chorus, rehoused birds and bugs, nurtured caterpillars into butterflies, charmed snails, danced in the rain, searched for geocaches, listened to a thunderstorm, created art with natural supplies, walked our dog, walked the wild way home, collected nature’s rainbow, dressed as animals, and allowed my husband to head out into nature on his own. Wildlife has been with us every step of the way and I’ve found we acknowledge its presence now more than ever.
Nurturing a sense of adventure
I have thoroughly enjoyed engaging with nature on a daily basis, even on the days when my involvement began and ended with standing on the tree stump in our garden to get a better view of the sunset. Nature has become my therapy of late, encouraging me to face my anxieties head on and know that it’s all right to take a moment for myself every now and again. More than that, though, 30 Days Wild has brought my family closer, ensuring that we’ve headed out on adventures together, and motivated my husband and children to look in the nooks and crannies that they’d normally walk past. Last year’s campaign was a real eye-opener for us as a family, as my children tagged behind us on every journey beyond the front door with a sense of wonderment. This year, however, my older son was the leader; Toby has become a miniature naturalist overnight, seeking out bugs and beasties by the dozen, charming snails in a way I’ve never witnessed before and asking endless questions. What do birds eat? Where do spiders sleep? Do snails have dreams? With every question he has developed a greater understanding of the natural world, and he can now name more birds than my husband; not a bad feat for a child not yet four… In my younger son I see a growing sense of self, and every trip outdoors is an excuse for a squeal of delight. In the last 30 days he has learned about bees while being dressed as a bee, watched caterpillars become butterflies, jumped in more puddles than ever before and engaged with the natural world as only a toddler can – hands on, best foot forward. 30 Days Wild has been our gateway into something more long term and easy for anyone to embrace.
Soon we will set our butterflies free and watch as they flutter into the breeze without looking back. While they’ll leave their mesh butterfly house and our family forever, the influence those painted lady butterflies have had on our lives will stay with my little boys for some years to come. How odd to think that something so delicate has made its impact felt in such a way! We fully intend to embrace Every Day Wild, our own special campaign to engage more with nature. Next time you head outside take in a lungful of air, listen to the rustle of the leaves and the chirrups of the birds and watch your step: wildlife is all around and it’s waiting to be discovered.
30 Days Wild runs throughout June and you can join in at any time – visit www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/30DaysWild to sign up and get lots of ideas to make your June the wildest yet!