You guys all know how passionate I am about getting outdoors with the kids, and what a big fan I am of the National Trust. Well, I’m very excited to tell you that today the National Trust have launched their Noticing Nature Project. It combines two of my favourite things! Properly geeking out here! They’ve described it as a “couch to 5k” initiative for Nature. It’s free, really easy to fit into daily life and has sooooo many benefits for you and the kids.
Why do we need the Noticing Nature project?
The National Trust have done some interesting research about how connected people are with nature, and the results are quite sad. 77% of kids and 62% of adults haven’t listened to birdsong in the last year. I’m genuinely not even sure how that’s possible. As I’m sitting here writing the I’ve got a dove cooing outside my window, there’s permanently at least one bird singing within earshot. Only 24% of children stop to appreciate the stars and moon. As someone who actively encourages my kids to do these things, it genuinely makes me sad to see these stats.
I think a lot of us are very aware of how bad plastics are, and how widespread the problem is. We know that climate change is real. Steve Backshall, David Attenborough, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall etc have all done a great job of raising awareness of these issues. We know that there’s been a steady decline in our natural environment but can we actually do anything about it on a day to day basis? The National Trust’s Noticing Nature project is all about starting small. By spending time in nature, noticing the natural world, hopefully we will start to take action to protect it.
What I particularly like about this project is that it’s small things, that only take a couple of minutes. At first it might have to be a conscious decision, but soon it will become second nature (pardon the pun).
How can I take part?
The National Trust has launched week-by-week guides to help you tune into nature around you. The Noticing Nature activities are all free, they take between 5 and 20 minutes, and you don’t need any special equipment to do them. Most of the time you don’t even need to go anywhere special, you can do them from you own garden or street. Also have a look at some of the things we got up to last year as part of 30 days wild.
One of the activities in week two caught my eye; watch a bird flying. Here in Buckinghamshire we are surrounded by beautiful Red Kites soaring over our skies. I live in the middle of Aylesbury and we have a couple that seem to be residents, they’re always flying low over our garden. Or diving bombing my car as I drive along country roads. I swear they’re as big as Eagles!!
Keep an eye out for special Noticing Nature activities that will be taking place at National Trust properties across Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire and beyond. I’ll be sharing them in the events section of my Facebook page as well.
The benefits of connecting with nature
There are so many I couldn’t possibly list them all! Getting exercise, building confidence, building up their immune system, problem solving skills, improves attention spans and genuinely increases levels of happiness. All of this then spills into the time they spend indoors. With my own kids, I swear they’d climb the walls if we didn’t get out regularly. I also struggle with seemingly never-ending screen time battles. Those just don’t happen when we’re out, so we go out!!
Most of the things you can do outdoors are free or really cheap. You don’t even need great weather; a decent coat and pair of wellies will see you through most things! Click here for loads of reviews of free and cheap places to visit outdoors. I’d love to hear about the things that you’ve been up to. Why not share your ideas and photos on the Facebook chat group?