Go absolutely wild in June!

Go absolutely wild in June!

Stars back national nature challenge 30 Days Wild

Naturalists, TV presenters and authors are backing The Wildlife Trusts’ national nature challenge to do something ‘wild’ every day during June. Author Abi Elphinstone, TV presenter Gillian Burke, Olympian Alex Gregory, and chart-topping James McVey from The Vamps have all put their weight behind the campaign to reconnect people with wildlife in a fun and inspirational way. Around 54,500 people, schools and workplaces have already signed up to 30 Days Wild which starts on Friday (June 1).

New research shows that 30 Days Wild is unique in improving people’s perception of beauty in nature, and that noticing natural beauty makes people happier and want to care for it.

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Gillian Burke, TV presenter, biologist and Springwatch presenter, is supporting 30 Days Wild. Will she dance in a downpour as one of her Random Act of Wildness?

Gillian (pictured above; credit: Ellie Smart) says: “Try 30 Random Acts of Wildness in 30 Days! I’d love people to connect with the wildlife around them – I think lots of people don’t know how to do it… this is the perfect way to start and discover how you can make a difference. Where will your wild adventure take you? I might dance in a downpour!”

30 Days Wild encourages people to notice nature on their doorsteps every single day and gives them a multitude of exciting and fun ways of doing it.

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Alex Gregory, double Olympic Champion, multiple World Champion rower, and author of Adventures (pictured, top of page) says: “It’s all too easy to fall into the habit of walking into the house and shutting the door. There are too many things indoors that are attractive to our children and us adults alike, mostly revolving around a screen. I think technology is great, I love it, as long as there is something else. Often the best memories are made quickly for free! This is what the outdoors gives us. Taking the first step outside is the biggest challenge, after that, with a willing mind and a spot of enthusiasm, bonding moments and lasting memories can easily be made together. What is it that we remember from our childhoods? That afternoon watching TV? Or the time Mum climbed a tree with us after school?

“As a family our free time is spent outdoors, exploring, investigating and being active. I want my children to notice things. I believe if they start to notice things in the natural world they become interested, when they become interested, they start to care and when a generation begins to really care, that’s when we see a change.”

Ellie Harrison, ecologist, vice-president of The Wildlife Trusts, and TV presenter says: “We know that encouraging children to spend time in nature is a good thing. It’s not easy for us to remember how to connect with the child within and to have fun. But if we do that, it becomes infectious. 30 Days Wild is a bank of ideas on how to experience the outdoors with young people. Don’t just tell: do.”

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Kate Humble, TV presenter, wildlife, nature and science programmes, says: “I have got a challenge, I want you – throughout the month of June – to go outside every day! That’s 30 whole days going outside. Why wouldn’t you? Just go wild in June!”

Research shows taking part in 30 Days Wild improves health and happiness and encourages people to do something to help wildlife.

Nick Baker, naturalist and TV presenter and vice-president of The Wildlife Trusts, says: “Ever since I was a small boy I’ve been fascinated by wildlife and the natural world. It’s so important for us all to have regular contact with nature – I know it makes me feel happier and healthier. Taking the 30 Days Wild challenge is a brilliant way to reconnect with your own wild side so why not get out and go wild this June?”

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Isabel Hardman, assistant editor, The Spectator, founder of #wildflowerhour, and passionate about the healing power of nature, says: “As a society, we’re really disconnected from nature now. Some people think you have to go miles to see wildlife, but we don’t even notice nature at our feet. That’s what 30 Days Wild is all about – taking a few minutes every day to notice and appreciate the wild world around you, on your doorstep. I take time for myself and for nature every day, no matter how busy I am. Those 15 minutes outside are just more important for my mental health, so I prioritise them. Even in the middle of the city, there’s always something to see, something to learn. Being involved in nature gives people a way of talking about mental health. It helps to build something we’ve lost, too – community. The online nature-loving community is huge, and 30 Days Wild is the perfect way to tap into that.”

New this year is the first ever Big Wild Weekend on June 16 and 17: more than 100 wildlife events: bushcraft, osprey trails, mammal tracking, wild sleepovers, wild picnics and more!

Abi Elphinstone, author of the bestselling children’s novel Sky Song, spent her childhood building dens and running wild across highland glens. She says: “My siblings and I used to camp under the stars up the glen, fish our pond for giant beetles and scramble over the moors in search of hidden waterfalls – and I believe the reason I am a writer is because the wilderness I explored as a child made me one. Every child should have the chance to go ‘wild’, which is why I’m supporting 30 Days Wild. Connect with the wild world around you and have an adventure.”

Actor and director Samuel West lives in London, where wild spaces are particularly important to him and his family. Samuel, son of actors and canal enthusiasts Timothy West and Prunella Scales, says: “Growing up, my parents made sure we spent time around nature. Holidays outside, on canals or in the country, enjoying the peace and serenity of wildlife as a family. Even now, that’s hugely important. With two young children growing up in the city, we try to make sure that our kids have the same opportunities. We spend time in wild places, whether that’s venturing out into the countryside to look for birds or making the most of the amazing city greenspaces on our doorsteps, like Woodberry Wetlands in Hackney.

“Life for a family full of actors can be hectic; our time outdoors helps us reconnect with each other and focus on stuff that isn’t just us and our own narrow human worries. 30 Days Wild will help you fit a daily dose of nature into your life, no matter where you live or how busy you are.”

Levison Wood, explorer, writer, photographer and TV presenter, says: “Basically, go outside, get stuck in, and do 30 Days of random acts of wildness! It can be anything from reading your favourite nature book, planting a tree, building an insect hotel, whatever takes your fancy. Please go and get stuck in – you can download your wildlife pack free; sign up!”

Sophie Pavelle, zoologist and science communicator, says: “30 Days Wild is a fantastic excuse for us to do what I think deep down we all instinctively love and need – to spend time outside, amongst nature and the wildlife around us. Some of the best ‘wild’ things to do are free, on your doorstep and so much fun! And once you’ve started doing wild things, like dusk walks or mini bioblitzes around your local area – it’s totally addictive. I dare you not to love 30 Days Wild and want to continue it every day.”

Kurt Jackson, leading contemporary artist, who’s inspired by nature and the environment, says: “I’m more of a 365 days wild sort of person but aim for a month to start with, when all the butterflies and flowers and trees are at their best. Enjoy a walk, a swim or just sit in a field, a park, a woodland and find out what’s around. Give your days a shape, a purpose, organise your time with a trip out, before work or after or in the breaks, one beautiful bird, one extraordinary insect, one magnificent tree, a vista, a path, the sound of the wind, something memorable for and from each day. If only for a month, Paradise”.

James McVey, writer and guitarist in The Vamps, says: “I’m supporting The Wildlife Trusts’ national challenge of spending 30 Days Wild – every day in June they are asking you guys to do something wild. Now – that could be going camping somewhere if you’ve never been camping, it could be doing an off-road trail, climbing a massive hill that you’ve always wanted to do but never done – but it could also be something as simple as recycling if you’ve never recycled before or buying a reusable water bottle.”

30 Days Wild pack

Sign-up to 30 Days Wild and you’ll get 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 online packs for schools with outdoor lesson plans and giant Random Act of Wildness cards. Workplaces can join in too, with tailored download packs to bring the ‘wild’ to work.

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About the Author

Steve Ott