The Wildlife Trusts’ month-long nature challenge, 30 Days Wild, has seen its most successful year yet, with more than 350,000 people taking time to reconnect with their natural environment.
Running for the month of June, the challenge – which first took place in 2015 – asked participants to explore the nature on their doorstep every day in ways big and small, from planting wildflowers for bees to wild swimming in a river or lake.
The Wildlife Trusts, the national organisations representing individual Wildlife Trusts in the UK, offered 101 suggestions for outdoor activities – or ‘Random Acts of Wildness’ – designed to bring people closer to nature, and participants have been sharing their wild encounters on Twitter using the hashtag #30DaysWild.
The charity estimates that around 350,000 people took part in the challenge, a 40 per cent increase from the previous year – participation no doubt benefitted from the ongoing heatwave encouraging people to get outside, with last month officially the hottest June on record for Wales and Northern Ireland and the fourth hottest for England and Scotland.
Schools were encouraged to take part with special packs available dedicated to helping teachers and students get outside and learn about nature. Halfway through the challenge, the Big Wild Weekend also took place, with more than 200 events across the country on 16-17 June including bat detecting, hedgehog house building and a bird-ringing demonstration.
The impact of previous years’ challenges was evaluated by the University of Derby, which surveyed participants in 2017 to examine the link between wellbeing and engagement with natural beauty, revealing significant increases in nature connectedness and happiness over the course of the month and in the following three months.
Lucy McRobert, The Wildlife Trusts’ project leader for 30 Days Wild, commented: “We are thrilled that so many people are making time for nature, enjoying daily contact with wildlife and taking action to help it.
“We estimate that if every person who signed up through their home, family, school or business carried out 30 Random Acts of Wildness, that would be over 10 million special moments with nature. We know that joining in with 30 Days Wild makes people feel happier and healthier and we have also discovered that it’s helping people see beauty in nature.”
See some more highlights from the month on the 30 Days Wild Twitter account.