On day 29 of 30 Days Wild, I was feeling even sadder about the imminent end of 30 Days Wild. However, I was also feeling incredibly uplifted and inspired by all the time I’d spent in nature.
I’ve grown to love spending my days interacting with other nature lovers online, and having an extra incentive to get outdoors, because I know there are people who enjoy the same sort of things that I do who I can share my adventures with.
While it’s been tiring editing photos and posting about my adventures daily – I prefer a slightly more leisurely pace of writing as it allows more time to mull (and edit) – it’s also given me a huge boost, in terms of health, creativity and productivity.
I’m not surprised. It’s what the research says (even short bursts of connection with nature are beneficial). However, I didn’t expect it to be quite such a boost: nature is a powerful medicine.
This was apt, as I had a doctor’s appointment on day 29. It was just a routine blood test, (a standard part of having a chronic condition) so I wasn’t remotely concerned.
I was amused at the reading material on offer at the surgery: it seemed perfect for 30 Days Wild.
I had a lovely chat with the nurse who drew my blood, and told her about 30 Days Wild. I’ve made a point of telling all the health professionals I deal with about 30 Days Wild, as I think it’s hugely beneficial, and something that can really help our overstretched NHS, particularly as stress is such a common complaint.
If you have reason to visit medical practitioners on a regular basis and feel similarly convinced that nature can be healing, why not ask them to support next year’s campaign by putting up a poster or sharing a video about the initiative on their TV screens next year? (My physio told me that displaying things on TV screens was preferable for them – and it avoids using paper too).
I shared my elderflower champagne recipe with the nurse (at her request) – and my tip for getting free bottles by litter picking. If anyone deserves a free drink on nature, it’s nurses!
I litter picked on my way out, noticing people had dumped their plastic glasses (probably from the surgery) just outside. I took them home to turn into gardens.
I also noticed a Red Bull can. In all my litter picking adventures for 30 Days Wild, I’ve noticed energy drink cans are the most commonly dropped items (followed by beer cans, plastic squeezy fruit drink bottles that I suspect are dropped by children in pushchairs, and giant bottles that once held cheap wine – £2.99 if the sticker is to be believed).
Of course, this isn’t scientific and may differ elsewhere but I wish brands would educate consumers not to litter. Flagging energy levels are no excuse (and it doesn’t speak well for the product’s restorative properties if people are too tired to get to a bin after drinking it, so it negatively affects brand image too. Who wants to be the ‘litter bug’s choice’?).
Conversely, a recycling campaign encouraging people to recycle – or turn their cans into something creative – could win new customers (and has a degree of precedent…). Having worked in marketing for over two decades, I know which option I think offers the best opportunity to build brand image and connect with customers…
After my appointment, I walked home via the canal. I spotted a brilliantly resilient and opportunistic plant.
I also spotted a plant clinging on to a wall despite having no support. I love the way that nature always finds a way to thrive regardless of the obstacles: and find it genuinely motivational.
I’m pretty sure I was recognised by one of the ducklings I’ve been feeding as I was alerted to a duck on the canal bank by an obvious rustling that I interpreted as ‘feed me’. I did, and was rewarded with duckling cheeps of joy (I now want to find out how old ducks are when they get their ‘quack’. Squeaking ducks are an adorable new discovery I’ve made thanks to 30 Days Wild)
I am hoping it was the duck I met as a duckling in similar – but more perilous – circumstances. I’m sure I can see a resemblance (with the confidence that comes with age).
Regardless, the duck was happy, which made me happy.
As I walked, I took photos of the flowers I passed. I find it a great way to practice balance exercises and stretches. I find it much easier to crouch for several minutes at the end of 30 Days Wild than it did at the start because I’ve been taking so many photos – and often find myself standing on one leg trying to capture a beautiful flower that’s just out of reach.
Stretching and balancing are particularly useful for me as it have a collagen disorder (EDS) which puts my muscles under strain. Paced exercise, teamed with rest days, helps me manage my condition and live as full a life as possible.
However, everyone can benefit from honing their balance, particularly as they age. Gentle stretches can also ease back pain (I have a scoliosis – curved spine – so am well-versed in managing back pain.) Nature photography has more health benefits than you might imagine, particularly when you add in its potential for aiding mindfulness too.
When I got home, I had a lovely time making eggshell boats – something I’ve wanted to do since first hearing (on #FolkloreThursday) that you should crush eggshells so that a witch doesn’t turn it into a boat and create storms.
I feel this is unfair to all the nice witches who just fancy a day out on the sea – and maybe even use their magic to help mermaids and sailors in distress. So, with the help of nail varnish and nail art gems that I bought a while back for ‘future crafting’, plus some cut back swan’s feathers, I made some boats for good witches. (I saved the remnants for making egg shell mosaics – I’m going to colour them with different natural dyes and enjoy playing).
Eggshell decorating was a quick and easy craft. It does take a little delicacy so may be best for slightly older children and adults, particularly given that nail varnish is potent stuff. However, young ones could decorate hard boiled eggs with child-safe paint – try making egg animals. I suspect egg boat making may become a new passion, at least for a while. I’ll be breaking eggs sideways from now on.
By the end of day 29 of 30 Days Wild, I was tired, a little achy but full of positive energy for the day ahead. I wanted to make it my wildest day yet, so that I could end 30 Days Wild with a bang…
Random Acts of Wildness So Far…
- Spread the word.
- Start a weather/pain diary.
- Look at the clouds.
- Photograph wildflowers.
- Look for urban nature.
- ID a butterfly.
- Find a fledgling.
- Feed a swan.
- Collect feathers.
- Stake out a foraging site.
- ID birdsong.
- Tweet using the #30DaysWild hashtag.
- Plant a virtual seed.
- See new life growing.
- Feed the ducks.
- Protect an animal from a predator.
- Reflect on nature.
- Look closely at your lawn.
- Make someone a nature hamper from recycled materials.
- Share nature photos using #30DaysWild on Instagram (and help the hashtag trend).
- Show your houseplants some love.
- Tell friends about #30DaysWild.
- Talk to a junior naturalist and encourage their creativity.
- Photograph a favourite cuddly toy in nature.
- Add a nature event to your diary.
- Look closely at a friend’s garden.
- Take photos for #Rainbowblooms.
- Find a plant that looks like a bug.
- Watch a bee.
- Read a nature-based research paper.
- Get overawed by nature
- Watch the dawn.
- Walk barefoot in dewy grass.
- Try a nature meditation.
- Raid and repurpose the recycling.
- Go on a wild date.
- Go litter picking.
- Protect the soil.
- Make nature art.
- Watch the sunset
- Turn your desk wild.
- Water your plants.
- Celebrate World Environment Day.
- Take part in the plastic challenge.
- Watch nature videos.
- Tell people who run your favourite hashtag hour on Twitter about 30 Days Wild.
- Tell a colleague about 30 Days Wild.
- Take a closer look at foxgloves.
- Share nature-themed recycled crafting ideas.
- Have a natural aromatherapy bath.
- Dress for the weather.
- Connect with a local nature lover.
- Look at a puddle closely.
- Rescue a plant.
- Make a mini meadow in a recycled container.
- Photograph wet leaves.
- Welcome new wildlife to the area.
- Make a bottle garden.
- Make a wild bouquet.
- Collect flower petals for your nature crafting box.
- Tend a garden.
- Feel the wind in your hair.
- Collect leaves for crafting.
- Grow a tomato.
- Create a 30 second wildlife habitat.
- Admire an insect.
- Photograph something blue.
- Make a nature video.
- Go on a flower pot hunt.
- Wear nature-inspired fashion.
- Vote for nature.
- Plan a windowbox walk.
- Celebrate World Oceans Day.
- Go wild in a graveyard.
- Love lichen.
- Be amazed by moss.
- Find fungi.
- Stock up on wild supplies.
- Bag a bargain to bring back to life.
- Find something new in nature.
- Grow your own food.
- Reflect on nature and what it means to you.
- Look closely at cuckoo spit.
- Plant something pollinator friendly.
- Plant a herb garden and share cuttings.
- Look for bugs.
- Let your garden go wild.
- Read the weather.
- Brighten a corner of your home with plants.
- Use an eco friendly search engine.
- Repurpose plastic packaging.
- Use biodegradable glitter.
- Collect flower petals.
- Find the perfect feather to make a quill.
- Add fairyland magic to your home with a fairy doll made from recycled materials.
- Use feathers as home decor.
- Wear nature-inspired jewellery.
- Watch the moon.
- Go for a dawn walk.
- Invite people to a wild cocktail party.
- (Try to) put up a bird box.
- Make a bug habitat.
- Take a bug’s eye view.
- Follow an ant.
- Take a macro shot of the earth.
- Plant strawberries.
- Plant a bird seed garden.
- Collect rainwater for the garden.
- Think about light pollution (and turn off garden lights when not in use).
- Create a kitchen herb garden.
- Put out a bird feeder.
- Photograph flowers in the dark.
- Go for a canal walk at dusk.
- Forage for your supper.
- Make flower tea.
- Make a floral face wash.
- Press flowers.
- Craft a story with wild finds.
- Read William Morris’s nature writing.
- Fill your pockets with pine cones.
- See fledglings fly the nest.
- Look through the leaves.
- Find a ladybird baby.
- See a seed you sowed grow wild.
- Pay attention to a warning sign in nature.
- Find ferns.
- Find a flower fairy.
- ID a wildflower.
- Find nature art.
- Made floral cocktail ingredients.
- (Try to) rescue a wildflower.
- Make a daisy ring.
- Make a bottle garden and get back to your roots.
- Follow an ant.
- Check for evidence of wildlife, in the absence of any obvious creatures.
- Collect a feather to ID.
- Find wildlife in the clouds.
- Find a plant that looks like an alien.
- Find a solution for a waste problem that annoys you.
- Research nature-based citizen science.
- Look at nature through a window.
- Make something that you need instead of going to the shops.
- Learn a new nature word.
- Share a happy nature memory online.
- Make a natural face mask.
- Make a herbal remedy (check for any side effects, particularly if you’re on any medications. Medications don’t always mix well with herbal remedies and many people forget to check this. Read up about all the ingredients you’re using to be on the safe side,)
- Share nature-themed style that you love.
- Buy a nature-related book (I’m donating all June profits from my book, Go Wild: Over 200 Ways to Connect With Nature to the Wildlife Trusts.)
- Trade links with another nature blogger.
- Listen to the dawn chorus.
- Make an indoor night garden.
- Made dinner for a hedgehog.
- Use solar powered lights to reduce the amount of electricity you use.
- Give nature a libation (pour a bit of drink on the ground and thank nature for all it provides).
- Go on a mini-beast hunt at night.
- Photograph a snail.
- Look into the shadows.
- Take a different view.
- Find the fairies at the bottom of the garden.
- Drink elderberry port outdoors.
- Get involved with Britain in Bloom.
- Find out more about Transition Towns.
- Eat food that would otherwise have been wasted.
- Admire a blue sky.
- Make your business greener.
- Watch the sun through the trees and see how it changes as you move (or move your camera.)
- Photograph a blackbird.
- Have a 30 Days Wild fail – and learn from it.
- Make a bug (boutique) hotel.
- Craft a natural scene from your #30DaysWild finds.
- Forage for edible wildflowers.
- Set off down an unknown path.
- Hug a sapling. Baby trees need love too.
- Find a tree with a face.
- Admire a tree stump.
- Forage a friend’s garden.
- Grow the amount of nature you have indoors.
- Make a herbal hair tonic.
- Look for bats.
- Make a herb vinegar.
- Put water out for wildlife on a hot day.
- Make rose cordial (and experiment with other edible flowers.)
- Make a herbal oil.
- Make leaf paper.
- Get food from a community allotment.
- Have a barbecue.
- Watch a stream flow.
- Look into a fire.
- Create an outdoor air freshener by throwing woody herbs on the fire.
- Watch the stars emerge at dusk.
- Create your own nature magazine, booklet or scrap book.
- Light a candle in the dark.
- Go outside wearing your pyjamas.
- Celebrate Summer Solstice.
- Think about the impact you have on nature.
- Collect herbs by moonlight.
- Listen to the wind in the trees.
- Study a slug.
- Burn natural incense.
- Make herb salt.
- Watch a daisy open up.
- Make herb ice cubes.
- Get involved with a gardening community.
- Share food or drink with other people.
- Weed the garden.
- Make blackcurrant or redcurrant cordial.
- Make borage gin.
- ID a ladybird.
- Make your own Summer Punch (vodka, fruit, edible flowers and herbs)/
- Start a herb garden.
- Cook using a wild ingredient you’ve never tried before.
- Share your wild recipes.
- Re-use a Lucozade bottle..
- Press elderflower stalks left over from cordial making to make tiny trees.
- Love lemon balm.
- Read the science behind a herbal remedy and see if it stacks up for you (tips on research can be found here. If you’re after something more in-depth, read The Research Companion by the brilliant Petra Boynton).
- Opt for eco cleaning.
- Make a dinosaur garden.
- Go meat free.
- Watch a nature TV show.
- Look at nature photos when you’re stressed.
- Relieve the pressure.
- Learn about yeast.
- Make a recycled funnel from an old plastic bottle.
- Dissuade unwanted wildlife from your home.
- Befriend a bug.
- Get surprised by wildlife.
- Burn herbal incense.
- Sniff Mycobacterium vaccae.
- Track your growth.
- Listen to nature-inspired music.
- Share your favourite nature bloggers with other people.
- Watch the slipstream.
- Be inspired by someone’s recycling idea.
- Notice the light through the trees.
- Look at the way the wind affects things around you.
- Talk to your local restaurant about recycling flowers (and other waste).
- Have a drink in a pub garden.
- Compare man-made magic with natural magic.
- Notice the shadows at night.
- Have an explosive nature experience.
- Clean up the mess you’ve made.
- Upcycle a found item, rather than buying something new.
- Chop an onion the ‘minimum waste’ way.
- Save onion skins to make dye.
- Start a compost bin.
- Make Fridgetata.
- Take a new approach to a familiar experience.
- Collect egg shells for egg shell mosaics.
- Learn about a local farm shop.
- Photograph pink clouds.
- Check on your bug habitat, and top up the water.
- Plant a tree.
- Investigate bonsai.
- Let your garden run wild.
- Deadhead flowers.
- Make a Rumtompf (or ‘Joyful Jamjar).
- Make an ‘elderflower trees’ collage.
- Make her bread.
- Eat a meal you’ve grown.
- Watch wildlife through a window.
- Watch a duck groom itself (if you can, watch a swan too. They’re amusingly inelegant when grooming, compared to their usual sophisticated selves).
- Look into the light.
- Make a ‘rainy day; nature crafting kit.
- Drink a cup of tea outdoors.
- Organise a nature-themed event.
- Make a nature-themed fancy dress costume.
- Take stock of nature’s bounty.
- Make a foraged rainbow cocktail collection.
- Save seeds.
- Connect with other people taking part in #30DaysWild near you.
- Add a nature film to your ‘must watch’ list.
- Be a lark not an owl – or vice versa.
- Make friends with a snail.
- Grow an orange flower.
- Develop an idea you have for helping nature.
- Try nature-inspired paper-crafts.
- Take a second look at nature.
- Plant a rainbow garden.
- Prepare yourself for future nature adventures.
- Consider the benefits you’ve found in connecting with nature.
- Look at a nature magazine.
- Tell a health professional about 30 Days Wild, and encourage them to get involved next year.
- Turn a found plastic cup or coffee cup into a garden.
- Find a resilient plant.
- Get motivation from nature.
- Follow nature’s story: watch the same wildlife or patch of land over a period of time – and take photos to see how they change.
- Consider more creative recycling.
- Stretch for nature.
- Make eggshell art.
Thanks! Some great tips there 🙂
Could be an idea to contact local arts orgs and let them know. As someone who works festivals, I hear ‘pallets and cable reels’ and think ‘set building materials and tables’ (just add biodegradable glitter + sealant – is perfect space in middle to put a tree in a pot) Tweeting Tesco and @ in Keep Britain Tidy & Wildlife Trusts could speed signs going up… And ask council abput bin on Twitter too. Publicity can help us keep wildlife safe from litter 🙂
I took a few photos on our last walk of stuff that had been dumped around the back and sides of warehouse units, some of it has obviously been dumped by the actual businesses themselves as there are pallets and office chairs and old reels from cables. There are so many businesses on the site though that it will take me ages to collate all the information. Norse who are the maintenance people for our area have said they will support me with an organised litter pick but I’m not that confident to do that just yet.
I think some anti litter signs in the nearby shops would be a good idea, we have a Tesco and that takeaway sandwich place I can never remember the name of, and a lot of litter on our actual estate comes from there. I bugged the council to put a waste bin in-between the shops and the houses which they did, but after a week it disappeared! Assume some moron took it 😦
I think the ‘don’t be a tosser’ logo is great, if I could get some of those printed that would be good.
Yes its a shame they don’t do the money back thing for bottles, ah the good old days!
Great idea. I’ve been considering taking photos of the most common items I find as litter (Red Bull cans have been abundant near me recently, along with other energy drinks, those small fruit drinks in plastic bottles – I suspect dropped by kids – and giant bottles of cheap wine) and then contacting brands to ask them to remind their consumers not to litter. Maybe you could ask some of the off licenses nearby to put up posters saying, ‘Think of the Ducklings’ or similar, reminding people not to litter? I find humour tends to be more effective than being too dictatorial/grown up – no one likes being told what to do, but being asked to be considerate/reminded of the impact of their actions often reminds people that deep down, they want to do the decent thing. You could also try a letter to your local paper. And if there are specific trouble spots, maybe try to find the land owner and ask them to install a litter bin (though they may say they don’t have time to empty it. Depending on your time commitments, you could possibly offer to remove the bin bags – less of a gross job than picking up stinky litter). I miss the days when you could get money for returning glass bottles – was a way I got pocket money as a kid. I think that offering cash could help incentivise those who are less naturally inclined to protect the world than you are, and could be something brands could do to help fight littering. Well done for what you’re doing – the world needs more people like you.
Most of the stuff I have been picking up is disgusting! We have a wood at the end of our road which leads to an industrial estate. We’ve been trying to protect the verges around the estate, and in doing so have noticed so much litter. Lots of drinking dens I think. I need to try and target some of the businesses around there as the mess is unbelievable in places 😦
I have a pair of rubber gloves – I find litter pickers awkward to use. Luckily, it’s mostly bottles, cans and cigarette packets near me rather than anything too stinky (though bottle caps really annoy me as they get dug into the soil. I take a pair of nail scissors to deal with them). The cans go straight in the recycling (I empty them from the bag and reuse it next time I go out to minimise plastic use, though have washed it a few times. The bottles go into a sink full of very hot water and washing soda to soak until the labels come off as soon as I get home. I then give them a second good wash, and sterilise by pouring boiling water in them. A beer-stinking bag of rubbish can turn into a lovely cocktail cabinet full of foraged booze/cordial for the cost of some sugar, lemon and wine yeast. I see the stickiness of litter picking as the price I pay for a cupboard full of lovely things 🙂
Do you have a litter picker constantly on you, or do you pick up by hand?
I have a litter picker which I requested from our local maintenance contractors who also gave me bags too.
Unfortunately most of the rubbish I have picked up has been there a while and reeks! It smells so awful that I don’t split the stuff up into rubbish and recycling it just goes straight to landfill 😦