30 Days Wild is a campaign running throughout June encouraging people to do something wild every day for thirty days. No matter where you live – from an urban jungle to a windswept mountain – wildlife and wild places are all around, waiting to be discovered by you. The campaign is being run by The Wildlife Trusts, and offers an opportunity for participants to feel happier, healthier and more connected to nature. In this post read an account of how 30 Days Wild changed one participant’s life. And if you’re inspired to get involved, there’s still time to sign up and connect with your wild side!
#30DaysWild 2016 began recently, reminding me of last June, when I first embraced this inspiring concept. As a life-long amateur naturalist and friend to all things wild, it seemed like a terrific idea to engage mindfully with the outdoors, to practice looking, listening and touching, to learn a little more about the amazing diversity that my little patch of Scotland had to offer, and to perhaps inspire others to do the same.
So for 30 fabulous days I tweeted my daily experiences, which included birdwatching to bat detecting, rock pools to rock climbing, and wild flowers to waterfalls, and as the initiative concluded I was struck by how simple it was to turn every single day into a wild one. I felt sparks of child-like curiosity and wonderment that were truly energising, and I didn’t want to let go of this motivation.
I committed to extending #30DaysWild into #365DaysWild, and it has been an incredible and life-affirming adventure through the seasons. It sounds simplistic, but there truly is so much to see if you take the time to really look: every patch of grass, every tree or fallen branch is a cosmos in itself, and every wood pile, every grassy verge or moss-covered boulder offers marvels.
I suspect that far too often many people – including my previous self – take much of what is wild for granted, and are unaware of the myriad interesting things beneath our feet, or flying overhead. I committed to posting photographs and videos on Twitter (@proudfoot) for each and every day of #365DaysWild, but they proved to be only a fraction of the experiences I was fortunate enough to enjoy.
My encounters have taken in both the macro and the micro, from huge red deer stags to the tiniest lichens, as well as many different habitats, and I am continually struck by how “wild” isn’t just about how rare or remote things are. I have experienced wild days on the sides of buildings, in the pages of books and on window sills. “Wild” to me, has become a feeling, when sight or sound tugs deeply at a yearning to understand, and I have learned so much. Chance encounters with an unknown wild flower, bug or bird song have become an absolute thrill, especially when I learn new things about the ubiquitous or commonplace, and the world on my doorstep has become a more vivid and wonderful place.
I have sat, open-mouthed and in astonishment, watching a bee’s tongue flick back and forth. I have tracked fox prints through snow. I have spectated as stags bellow and fight in the rut, and I have laid down on warm grass, watching bugs inches from my nose. These are all things I will never forget, yet all have been accessible and awe-inspiring experiences, available to anyone with the desire to go looking.
As I write this, I will shortly have completed my “year in the wild”, just in time to begin #30DaysWild once again. This year I hope to do more to inspire others to participate, especially young people and those like myself who aren’t so young, and who have perhaps forgotten what it is like to climb a tree, look under a rock, or go looking for frogs. Beyond June – who knows what hidden paths and wonderful wildlife we may have met?
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like to check out our recent World Environment Day blog and video series.