Week 1 of 30 Days Wild - starry skies, sunsets and buzzing meadows

Our Hedgehog Officer Ali begins the Wildlife Trust's 30 Days Wild challenge and shares her random acts of wildness for week 1!

Wow, I can’t believe we’re already one week into the Wildlife Trust’s 30 days wild campaign! This is one of my favourite campaigns because it is so easy for everyone and anyone to get involved. It’s not too late if you haven’t signed up already – head to our website here, for more information. It started a few years ago and is all about getting  everyone reconnecting with nature, by having one random act of wildness each day, every day, for the 30 days of June. These can be small acts like taking a walk at lunch to listen to the birds, identifying a new flower species in your garden, making a hedgehog hole in your fence or admiring gnarled bark whilst climbing a tree. Everyone has busy lives – work, family, friends. But the idea behind this campaign is to show how easy it is to fit a little nature time into any busy schedule – to make wildness, and the inclination to protect it, part of your every day life!

Day 1 – Myself and Ipswich Wild Learning Officer Lucy kick started our 30 days wild by inviting families to join us on a night safari around Holywells Park.  Within minutes of starting the walk, a lesser stag beetle had flown into the hands of one of our volunteers, and the children were eagerly holding out their hands to let their first ever beetle scramble across them. We then admired foraging pipistrelle bats, a large female toad burying down in the leaves, hundreds of tadpoles squiggling around in the water, a smooth newt and even a water scorpion. We paused on route to have a go at using our night vision monocular and ended the evening by watching toads and a jumping frog in the walled garden. Unfortunately no hedgehogs were spotted, but we had a lovely wildlife filled evening! We have several more night safaris and night walks this summer, check out our What’s On for more but remember, you can have you very own night safari, any night, in your own garden! Why not head out after dark and see what you can find?

Day 2 – a lovely time spent lazing under a big old oak tree in Christchurch park. This wasn’t just any old oak, this was home to a chirping nest full of Great spotted woodpeckers. We lay quietly in the dappled sun listening to the chicks and getting excited when the parent flew back to the hole in the tree. Our waiting was rewarded and we witnessed the chicks heads popping out for their dinner! Christchurch park has so many awesome ancient trees – why not take a wander to see and listen to what species you can find?

Day 3 – enjoying the sun, wildflowers and insects in a beautifully buzzing meadow whilst in Cambridge for the day. A lovely way to spend some time in the sun! Wildflower meadows are awesome habitat for so many species – why not visit one yourself, or even bring one to your own garden? Tips for scattering seed bombs in your garden can be found here. Wildflower patches (even small ones) are excellent feeding habitat for hedgehogs.


Shore crabs

Ali North

Day 4 – I decided to take a bag on my run to collect some of the plastic rubbish littering the banks of the River Orwell. You’ll be surprised (or not surprised) on how much stuff you can find once you start looking. My bag was very quickly filled with straws, plastic cups and other single-use plastic items. One of my challenges for this year was to drastically cut down on the amount of single-use plastic I use in my every day life. Plastic is destroying our oceans and littering the terrestrial environment  (plastic bottle rings often trap poor hedgehogs!). There are some really easy steps anyone can take to help, here and some less easy steps, here.

Before continuing on my run I decided to peer under some rocks to see what I could find – some lovely shore crabs!

Day 5 – Whilst exploring the Suffolk Coast Path for a few days I took a moment to rest, enjoy the blue hues along the River Orwell and watch a tern dive for its dinner.  The stillness of the water was then interrupted by what at first I thought was some floating kelp – then to realise it was in fact a bobbing seal coming to say hello!

Day 6 – I watched the sun set over some reed beds, to the sound of a nearby cuckoo. Once the sun had dropped the sky was dark and clear, full of zillions of teeny tiny stars. Have you spent a night under the stars? It can be as easy as setting up camp in your own garden!

Checking trail camera footage

Day 7 – After returning home from my trip I was excited to check the trail camera in the garden to see if we’d had any new visitors. We had! A lovely fox – the first for our garden. Trail cameras are a brilliant way of discovering what goes on in your garden after dark. Remember you can borrow our trail cameras in Ipswich to help you detect hedgehogs and other nocturnal critters. More information can be found here.

These are just some of my random acts of wildness for June so far – I’d love to hear yours too! Including nature in your every day life has so many benefits, probably even more for those of you that think life is too hectic to fit it in. Take a few minutes, sit amongst the grass, watch the clouds, eat your dinner outside or take 20 minutes to watch the sun set. I bet you’ll feel a whole lot better for it!

Don’t worry if you haven’t started yet – it’s never too late to go #30dayswild or even #365dayswild. If you’d like tips and advice you can register for a pack here.