12 Ways To Connect With Nature

JoEditor's Pick, Garden, Lifestyle

Getting closer to nature

Did you know that according to analysis, the UK is one of the world’s most nature depleted countries? Although some researchers suggest that this tracks back to the industrial revolution, many point to common modern causes of this too. The number of vehicles on the road has increased and emissions are at an all-time high. Farming has intensified leaving fewer areas for wildlife to thrive. The population has increased which puts additional demands on housing and pressure for new developments.

A recent government ‘Natural England‘ survey shows that people have started to feel more connected with nature over the last couple of years, spending more time outside and recognising the importance of nature to their wellbeing. There are well documented mental and physical benefits of being outside, and with this in mind I thought I would share some of our favourite ways to get out in nature every month of the year. What better time to start getting more connected to nature than right now? Perhaps a shift in focus might be what is needed to encourage us all to play our part in helping the natural world around us to thrive once more.

Walking in a park to connect with nature

January

The weather can often feel quite bleak at the beginning of the year, but step outside with your morning cuppa and you will notice signs of life around you. It might be a good time to assess whether you could carefully position additional bird feeders in your outdoor space too.

February

The World Wildlife Fund are organising a ‘Big Winter Wander’ between 18th and 26th February 2023. Head over to their website for more information, this might be just the motivation we all need to get out and about!

March

Signs of new life start to spring up in March. Take a walk around a local park before work or school to see what you can spot. My boys love to quietly watch birds collecting moss, twigs and leaves for their nests around this time of year.

April

Under the surface of the water, new life is bubbling away. If you have a local nature reserve, you might find that they are offering pond dipping sessions. If not, take a walk along a riverbank or canal towpath and see what you can spot. If you’re lucky you might see tadpoles pooling at the edges of lakes or ponds. Take care with this, riverbanks in particular can be slippery.

Pond dipping

May

A lovely way to connect with nature at any time of year is to take photographs outdoors. You don’t need fancy equipment, a camera phone is absolutely fine. Sit still to spot birds or crouch down to take close ups of flowers. Focus on what sparks your interest and lose yourself in the moment as you capture the memory.

June

The Wildlife Trust run 30 Days Wild in June every year, and it’s a brilliant reminder to get out each day and spot or do something. Have a look at their website or the hashtag on social media for some great ideas of ways to connect with the natural world. Alternatively you can look at some of the 30 Days Wild activities that we have done previously.

July

There’s an opportunity to contribute to data collection this month, with the Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count. This survey aims to assess the health of the environment by focusing specifically on butterflies. To get involved just head to their website or sign up for their newsletter.

Taking in nature from a hilltop

August

As our summers are predicted to get hotter year by year, August is a great time to get some woodland walks in the diary. Shading you from the direct heat of the sun (still apply sunscreen though!) they might feel fractionally cooler than being out in the open. They give a lovely opportunity to appreciate the birds as well as looking for signs of ground dwelling wildlife such as foxes and badgers.

September

There is normally an abundance of blackberries at this time of year. Why not go out blackberry picking and make jam or a fruit crumble on your return home? Just make sure to leave some for the birds too.

October

A large number of insects go into a state known as diapause over the winter months. Much like hibernation, they need to find safe cosy places to tuck themselves away for this. October presents a great opportunity to put some bug boxes in your garden, or create a small wood pile somewhere that it can remain undisturbed by creatures or strong gusts of wind through the winter months.

A wintry sky in nature

November

This is often a busy time of year with the lead up to Christmas, days getting shorter and winter illnesses often sweeping us off our feet for a few days at an unexpected time. To counter the busy, take a moment (or 10) to stop and listen. Whilst leaves may have fallen from the trees, and there isn’t the same hum of new or emerging wildlife, there is still plenty to see and hear.

December

As the winter season draws closer still, consider foraging for fallen leaves or sprigs of bushes to create a wreath with. Remember to ask permission from the landowner before you take any plant cuttings though.

I know that I will be encouraging my boys out into nature on a regular basis again this year, and I hope that the above might give you some inspiration to do the same.