30 Days Wild starts this weekend
The Wildlife Trusts' annual challenge 30 Days Wild kicks off this weekend, with the conservation charity calling on the public to 'go wild' every day in June.
This year looks set to be bigger and better than ever, with a record 60,000 people, families, schools, businesses and care homes throughout the UK having signed up to take part.
30 Days Wild encourages the British public to enjoy nature in our neighbourhoods through daily 'random acts of wildness', such as listening to birdsong, looking at butterflies, growing borage for bees and making the most of our parks, gardens and school grounds. Evidence shows that taking part can also make us happier and healthier.
Evidence shows that spending time outdoors and engaging with nature makes us happier and healthier (Matthew Roberts/The Wildlife Trusts).
Ellie Harrison, presenter of Countryfile and President of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, commented: "Being outside in nature makes us all well. The smallest moments connecting – the surprise of a beetle revealing its wings, the fleeting secrets of bats at dusk, or the puff of valuable pollen from flowers we saw as weeds – all bring us wonder and enchantment. This June we're challenging you to a random act of wildness every single day of the month. What will you be delighted by?"
Dr Amir Khan, from Channel 5's GPs Behind Closed Doors show, said: "Spending time outdoors, enjoying wildlife on our doorstep and in our communities is free and can benefit our mental and physical health in so many ways. Spend a few moments every day in June taking part in random acts of wildness – notice something new in nature, climb a tree or create space for nature in your neighbourhood. The Wildlife Trusts has lots of ideas and inspiration to help you make the most of the 30 Days Wild challenge. Go wild!"
The Wildlife Trusts' Leanne Manchester added: "30 Days Wild is a much-loved challenge and it's set to be an exciting month for everyone taking part. Experiencing a moment of nature every day on our doorstep or during lunchtime at work is elating in June when wildlife is so active and visible. Take time out to sit in a wild spot, enjoy the sunset or feel cool grass between your toes – June is such a beautiful month and the perfect time to go a bit wild."
Taking part in 30 Days Wild is not just about self-gain: inspiring the next generation is another great benefit (Matthew Roberts/The Wildlife Trusts).
The impact of taking part in 30 Days Wild has been tracked by academics at the University of Derby. The study found that people who did something 'wild' every day for a month felt happier, healthier and more connected to nature.
Miles Richardson of the University of Derby explained: "Our research looked at the impact of 30 Days Wild on 1,000 people, two months after completing the challenge. All those taking part benefited, feeling 30 per cent healthier than when they started on average. People who reported a disconnect from nature and who spend less time outdoors showed the greatest improvement in happiness and pro-conservation behaviours.
"At a time when poor mental health is on the rise and the decline of our wildlife show no sign of slowing down, 30 Days Wild demonstrates what a much-needed new relationship with nature might look like, for everyone, throughout the year."
It's still possible to sign up to 30 Days Wild and, over the next month, thousands of wildlife experiences will be shared on social media. Take a look at #30DaysWild or @30DaysWild and see how daily connections with nature are inspiring people to enjoy the world around them – and to share your own.