A break from screens and a moment with nature

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Volunteer Emily Dodd tells us about her 30 Days Wild experience

I have always loved nature, but ever since growing up, adult life has restricted me from it.

As a kid, I climbed trees, potted plants, and danced in the rain – my mum struggled to keep me indoors! Looking back, I should probably apologise for the amount of washing she must have done from my enjoyment of muddy puddles…

Although, as exciting as it is to grow up, juggling a job and/or education can take its toll, both mentally and physically; whilst the lack of sunshine from being stuck indoors behind a computer screen doesn’t help either. I found it increasingly difficult to find the time to get outside, with most ventures lasting no longer than 10 minutes. It got to the point where, some days, I never even left the house – not even to visit the garden. I mean, the garden was hardly a green space (more like a concrete lawn), but remarkably, nature did find its way in through the cracks of the stone walls.

This all changed though, without quitting any commitments.

A few months ago, Cumbria Wildlife Trust invited me to take part in the 30 Days Wild campaign. I was grateful for the opportunity, but I was concerned about whether I would have the time to take part - whether I could manage doing something wild every day. Worries aside, it was a challenge that I wished to pursue, so I cleared my calendar and began planning. 

From that moment, I decided to make a huge difference in my life… I brought nature back into it!

I grabbed a huge bag of (peat-free) compost and got my hands dirty – I potted fruit, flowers, and vegetables to liven up my dull garden. Wildlife emerged almost immediately, with birds, bees, and butterflies making their first appearance. I was motivated to do more, and June hadn’t even arrived yet!
By the time it was June, I was ready. I bought a book, ‘152 Wild Things to Do’, and had a full diary that was jam-packed with events and activities to keep myself occupied outdoors. 

The first week involved a picnic, pond dipping, foraging, mint-tea drinking, and nettle-soup making – not forgetting a two-day Outdoor First Aid course too! 

Already, I have encountered numerous experiences with nature that have taken my breath away. Only now can I realise that this was what I needed in my life after all; a break from screens and a moment with nature. And the bonus? I’m smiling more, I’m sleeping better, and I’ve even got a tan!

Give yourself an excuse to connect with nature this month – there’s no better time for it than now.

P.S. – I highly recommend nettle soup, it’s frightfully green, but surprisingly delicious (and super nutritious)!