Feeling wild? The Wildlife Trusts’ month long nature challenge across the UK is back on the horizon, doing something wild and wonderful every day for a month during June – and new research reveals that nature’s beauty can help increase happiness. Help wildlife, help your neighbourhood – help yourself . . .
This June’s 30 Days Wild challenge from The Wildlife Trusts is back encouraging thousands of people across the UK to make their neighbourhoods wilder – to help wildlife and to motivate communities to share the joy of the wild. Aiming to help connect people with natural beauty the Wildlife Trusts’ annual nature challenge encourages people to do something wild every day for the month of June – and the opportunity to get involved and sign up to participate is now open. In 2017, 250,000 people took part, and the results of ongoing research has revealed that 30 Days Wild has helped to improve people’s perception of beauty in nature – and that noticing natural beauty makes people happier and want to care for it.
Louise Rackham, Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Head of Communities and Wildlife says: “This very engaging initiative is a really lovely way to get closer to nature and marvel at everyday wildlife that is all around. Sowing a window-box of wildflowers to help bees and pollinators or perhaps getting together with neighbours to create hedgehog highways or sow meadows along the length of your street. No matter how small the action, it all counts.”
Academics at the University of Derby have monitored the challenge since it began in 2015 and have discovered that spending time in nature makes us feel good. Their evaluation of 30 Days Wild 2017 reveal that people’s perception of beauty in the natural world is a key ingredient to unlocking the benefits of wellbeing and happiness experienced by participants in the challenge.
Dr Miles Richardson, Director of Psychology, University of Derby explains: “Over the past three years we’ve repeatedly found that taking part in 30 Days Wild improves health, happiness, nature connection and conservation behaviours. Now we’ve discovered that engagement with the beauty of nature is part of that story.
“Tuning in to the everyday beauty of nature becomes part of a journey which connects us more deeply to the natural world. As people’s appreciation of natural beauty increases, so does their happiness. We respond to beauty – it restores us and balances our emotions. This, in turn, encourages people to do more to help wildlife and take action for nature.”
The latest set of results from the study of 30 Days Wild also confirms that the benefits of the challenge last well after the month has ended. There are indications that the beneficial impact of taking part could last an entire year. This year’s theme is all about helping wildlife in your neighbourhood and the pack has inspiring ideas for sharing the challenge locally – discover inventive ways to green-up your street – from carving hedgehog holes in fences to putting up bird and bat boxes and doing a local litter pick.
Sign-up to 30 Days Wild Everyone who signs up receives a free pack with a booklet of inspirational ideas for Random Acts of Wildness, a recipe for wild strawberry and thyme ice cream, wildflower seeded paper to sow, a wall chart to record your activities and wild stickers. There are special packs for schools with outdoor lesson plans and giant Random Acts of Wildness cards – businesses can join in too, with tailored download packs to bring the ‘wild’ to work.
Sign up here www.wildlifebcn.org/30dayswild