IF THE local wildlife trust had it their way you would be sat outside reading this edition of Country Week, and that’s because its latest campaign is all a bit Bear Grylls.
This may not mean getting stranded on a desert island and living off your wits just like in the adventurer’s latest television series, but, put simply, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust wants us to appreciate the natural world around us a bit more - and get active doing so.
Every day next month the Trust wants people who sign up to their challenge to try something wild, hence the campaign’s name, 30 Days Wild.
But what does that entail and why sign up?
The chief executive officer of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Rob Stoneman, explains: “We encounter nature every day, but very few of us take the time to stop and really appreciate our wild places and wildlife, which is what this is all about.
“We are asking people to give a little of their time over every day of June to ‘go wild’. It could be five minutes or five hours – the duration of time each day is up to you, but it is making that conscious decision to step outdoors and get involved in the world around that really counts.
“Throughout the month we will be providing ‘Random Acts of Wildness’ suggestions to help provide those taking part with inspiration and ideas for each day. This may vary from recording bird song on your phone and using it as a ring tone, to holding a walking meeting outdoors at work, rather than from behind desks.”
Mr Stoneman continued: “The link between wildlife and wellbeing has been well studied, with research suggesting that people with access to greenspace are 24 per cent likely to be more active. With a national health bill of £20billion per year related to physical inactivity, the benefits of getting active outdoors for us all are clear.
“Mental wellbeing is also shown to improve with time spent outdoors. A positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing is just one of the aims of this 30 Days Wild challenge.”
While the Trust says the campaign is supposed to be fun for those who get involved, Mr Stoneman said he hoped people would become more aware of the health of the natural world.
“We also hope that after a month of exposure to our country’s wild places people will be more inspired to help improve the declining fortunes of some of our beloved wildlife in the UK, with some shocking stats including a 97 per cent decline in wildflower meadows since the 1930s and hedgehog populations dropping by a monumental 30 per cent since 2013, just some of those trends we want to reverse,” Mr Stoneman said.
“Most of all 30 Days Wild is designed to be a bit of fun and to provide a chance to feel inspired by all that is around us – we are delighted that so many people have signed up and hope that many more do.”
Some suggested ‘Random Acts of Wildness’ include:
Feel the cool grass beneath your feet by discarding your socks and shows. How many landscapes can you feel under the soles of your feet?
Snap a picture of something blue and bring a little colour to someone’s life by sharing it on social media. Forget-me-not, delicate holly blue butterflies, common blue damselflies or even a clear blue sky are all worth a photo.
Find your inner wild in the middle of the working day. Make lunch hour your wild hour, and find nature nearby.
Plant a mini meadow and a nectar-rich butterfly or bee border.
Various events are being led by wildlife experts at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust throughout June. To find out what is happening locally, visit www.ywt.org.uk and to follow how this correspondent gets on trying the 30 Days Wild challenge, follow my tweets @benbthewriter