This June, the Wildlife Trusts once again launched their ‘30 Days Wild‘ campaign, encouraging all of us to get out there and do something a little bit ‘wild’ (nature related at least!) every day for a month. It is a brilliantly simple idea but one that thousands of people have got behind and all over the country little acts of wild are taking place each and every day. These ‘wild acts’ can be as simple as going for a walk or playing outside to buying organic, developing your id skills or joining a conservation work party for the day. Unfortunately for me, the beginning of the campaign collided with the final 10 days of my postgraduate course at Cirencester and so my focus was elsewhere. Nonetheless, although I wasn’t consciously taking part in the campaign during these first ten days, realistically I was engaging with it every day, partly due to the nature of my course – agriculture. The first few days were spent in Yorkshire on a study tour of different farms and land orientated businesses. During the week, in addition to the ‘wilds’ of the city of York after dark, I experienced curlew and golden plover high on a grouse moor in Swaledale as well as seeing a whole host of different crops and livestock, all of which are key features of the landscape, if not the ‘natural’ landscape. The days prior to my viva were mostly spent out in the sunshine trying to identify various arable weeds and grasses, so again, little acts of wild there.
The point I am trying to make, perhaps unsuccessfully, is that acts of wild needn’t be restricted to 30 days and needn’t be conscious. I fully realise that one of the aims of the Wildlife Trusts’ campaign is to get people to perhaps alter their way of thinking and integrate more ‘wild’ into their lives or shift their way of thinking. There is hope that acts of wild will continue beyond the 30 days of the campaign.
So, if you are wondering, has he not realised that it should be 30 days wild not ’20 days wild’, the answer comes in that I only consciously began my involvement in the campaign on Saturday.
So, on to day 1…
My first ‘official’ wild day was spent in the city of Bristol and it just happened that the Bristol Festival of Nature was being held at the time so I headed down to the Harbourside to get involved and see what was going on. The festival is organised by the Bristol Natural History Consortium and engages thousands of people with the natural world every year, bringing numerous organisations together to tell people about their work and the opportunities they can provide. There were also lots of plants for sale and many ‘hands on opportunities’ for children. The festival provided many opportunities to engage with ‘wild ideas’ but my chosen wild act for the day was learning about a specific plant at the Avon Wildlife Trust stand where they were selling them – Meadow Vetchling (Lathyris Pratensis). Found across farmland, grassland, heathland, urban areas and woodland meadow vetchling has a bright yellow flower and is a member of the pea and clover family (therefore legumionous). It slowers between May and August, attracting all sorts of pollinators.
It is a long standing aim of mine to become better at bird song identification and so I spent a little bit of time today on the BBC’s ‘tweet of the day‘ site, exploring past episodes and learning about various bird species. The collection of ‘Tweet of the Day’ past episodes is a great resource for learning about birds and is a super example of how the BBC exists as much for education and information as entertainment. One session on this site will not be enough to improve my knowledge to the extent I wish to but any time put towards it is, in my view, well spent.
We now come to this morning when I spent ten minutes out in the garden thinking about what it might be like to explore the urban garden world from the perspective of an insect. When looking at the world through a different lens we experience it in a completely foreign way which helps to provide perspective. Bellflowers (genus Campanula) can be found blooming across the city of Bristol’s pavements and gardens in May and June. I was lucky to catch this little banded snail working through this patch and stopped for a minute to watch.