Wildlife Trusts launch challenge to get people out into nature


A new initiative from The Wildlife Trusts, called the 30 Days Wild challenge, aims to help people enjoy nature every day.

A new poll of over 2,400 people in major cities across Britain revealed that city-dwellers have a strong affinity for nature and think that it's important to care for it. But the poll also highlights a conflict: the same people struggle to connect with nature as much as they'd like and a high proportion of people want to see more greening in cities.

The 30 Days Wild project aims to get children and adults out into the natural world (David Tipling).

The survey comes at a time when we have more evidence than ever before that nature is good for us and makes us happy. The poll reveals:

  • 89 per cent of city-dwellers surveyed feel that nature is important to them but 80 per cent of them don't think that they spend enough time in it
  • Just 21 per cent said that the last 'wow' moment they had with nature was in their local city area, while 60 per cent of people's most recent special moments with nature was from elsewhere, such as television, holidays and visits to the countryside. Only nine per cent have enjoyed visiting a wild place as part of their working day in the last week
  • 92 per cent of adults think it's important to help nature, while 56 per cent report doing something to help it in their garden and 78 per cent of adults want to see more nature in their cities

When was the last time you saw a Little Owl? Birding and visits into the countryside can provide similar random 'wow' moments by making minimal effort (Andy Rouse).

The poll results are released as The Wildlife Trusts launch their 30 Days Wild challenge which runs throughout June, encouraging people to commit Random Acts of Wildness — daily connections with nature — every day for 30 days. More than 40,000 have pledged to do this so far, including 3,000 schools and 1,000 businesses.

Lucy McRobert of The Wildlife Trusts said: "The fact that so many adults want to see more nature in their cities is a wake-up call to us all. Only a fifth of city-dwellers have experienced a special moment where they were amazed by wildlife they'd seen or heard in their local area recently, even though the beauty of wild plants and sounds of bees buzzing and birdsong are available to us all. Those 'wow' wildlife moments are all around us and taking part in 30 Days Wild is the perfect way to help you find them."

"The poll found that very few of us enjoy wild places at lunchtime. With the pressure on at work, it's easy to get stuck behind your desk. 30 Days Wild has lots of ideas for helping make nature part of your work life, as well as at home: less screen time, more green time!"

Dr Alice Roberts, Academic, writer and broadcaster, said: "Getting out in the natural world is good for the mind and body, and it's not just for the weekend — it should be every single day. Immerse yourself in nature this June with 30 Days Wild!"

The impact of taking part in 30 Days Wild has been tracked by academics at the University of Derby. Their study found that people who did something 'wild' each day for a month, felt happier, healthier and more connected to nature, with added benefits for the natural world too.

Dr Miles Richardson, University of Derby's Director of Psychology, who led the study, said: "The impact of 30 Days Wild adds to the compelling argument for bringing nature into our everyday lives. Two months after taking part in [previous] 30 Days Wild [challenges], there was a 30 per cent increase in the number of people who reported their health as excellent. Last year's results also show people's happiness continued to improve after 30 Days Wild ended, which illustrates its sustained impact. This is important as it is happiness and connecting with nature that influence improvements in health. Our study also shows that those who benefitted most were younger adults and those who weren't 'nature lovers'."

Regular visits to the countryside can make everyone feel healthy and more energetic (The Wildlife Trusts).

How to take the 30 Days Wild nature challenge: Spend a few minutes or a few hours each day enjoying nature on your doorstep; how you do it is up to you. Get a free 30 Days Wild pack, which includes activities, wildflower seeds, a chart and stickers (or directly download a pack without seeds). Schools can download specially tailored packs to support teachers, including outdoor lesson plans for literacy and numeracy, activity sheets and a large pack of Random Acts of Wildness cards.