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5 ways to celebrate 30 Days Wild in Yorkshire

PUBLISHED: 00:00 31 May 2018

Heron with dinner Photo: Guy Badham

Heron with dinner Photo: Guy Badham

derbyshire wildlife trust, as caption

As the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust kicks off a month of wildlife activity, young naturalist Zach Haynes shares some of his favourite places for an adventure

Zach Haynes, 14, from NorthallertonZach Haynes, 14, from Northallerton

The first thing 30 Days Wild means to me is that it’s June and the days are long (and sometimes warm!), with plenty of chance to get out and discover what’s around in the natural world.

I love 30 Days Wild. I love nature and have done for as long as I can remember, so it’s the perfect excuse to get out and enjoy it every day. I also like sharing my passion for nature so I usually blog and tweet about the things I do during the month.

So, what is 30 Days Wild? Well, it’s a fun challenge created by The Wildlife Trusts where you to do something wild every day throughout June. 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness!

To me it’s a very easy concept – getting out there: in your garden, a wood, the coast, a lake, really anywhere you can connect with nature and be part of it. It’s magical!

Angapanthia villosoviridescens, The Avenue Washlands Photo; Ron TurnerAngapanthia villosoviridescens, The Avenue Washlands Photo; Ron Turner

This year’s theme is all about helping wildlife in your neighbourhood. The 30 Days Wild pack has inspiring ideas for sharing the challenge locally, including great ways to green-up your street – from carving hedgehog holes in fences to doing a local litter pick. A Random Act of Wildness can be so easy to do, it’s always fun and it makes you feel like you’ve done something great.

I also like to try and encourage other people to join in, so I’ll often try to take a friend to one of my favourite nature reserves or to go on a walk. I also conjure up further interest online through my blogging and tweeting.

A random act of wildness can be anything, whether on your doorstep or further afield…

• Sow front-garden meadows along your street

Cowslip, The Avenue Washlands Photo: Stewart AbbottCowslip, The Avenue Washlands Photo: Stewart Abbott

• Splash in puddles or wade in streams

• Watch the birds or follow a bee on its busy journey

• Draw your favourite creature

• Do a citizen science survey like the Big Butterfly Count

• Do a two minute beach clean or pick up litter on a walk in your local area

• Volunteer at your local nature reserve.

There’s lots of really easy things to do that will help you to connect to nature. Plus, there’s evidence that being out in nature is good for us, so after 30 Days Wild you should feel better too. And you’ll have done something positive for nature in the process.

So you’ve got the perfect excuse in June to get out and enjoy the Yorkshire countryside and here are five of my favourite things to inspire you:

1. Look for patterns in nature. There are so many out there and if you take the time to learn about the significance of the Fibonacci Sequence, you begin to notice how much it appears. Enjoy looking for the spirals and other shapes you can find.

2. Visit Bempton and Flamborough Cliffs. Bempton Cliffs is an amazing nature reserve that isn’t too far away from me. I live in North Yorkshire, so the two hour trip is easily worth it to see the scenery and the thousands of gannets, guillemots, razorbills and, of course, puffins that are gathered on the cliffs there. It’s amazing to watch the gannets effortlessly plunge like torpedoes into the sea to catch fish for their chicks. The sights, sounds and smells of these ‘Seabird Cities’ are amazing. It’s always worth combining a trip here with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas Centre at Flamborough and taking the time to explore the rock pools.

3. Moth trapping. Moth trapping is something I’ve done for years now. All I do is set up a light with a large box and leave it out overnight, and in the morning I can see what species were in my garden. It’s always exciting going carefully through the box to see what’s in there. I’ve come across some huge moths, such as the Elephant Hawkmoth which is an enormous pink and green moth. It gets its name from its caterpillar, simply because it looks like an elephant’s trunk. You don’t need special equipment to do this as moths will come to outside lights left on, but look out for moth trapping events where the experts do have the special lights, as you can see some truly amazing species.

4. Bat detecting. This is a really fun one. Find a nice spot to sit and watch a sunset and wait for the bats to emerge. If you find a place where they hunt, you can see them flitting about at dusk and it’s just incredible watching them dart about. If you can, try and use a bat detector, which is a special hand-held machine that converts the bats super high sonar sounds to a noise level we can hear. It’s really magical listening to the bubbly sounds of a common pipistrelle as they hunt for bugs in the air, and then trying to track them down.

5. Beach cleaning. This is something that’s not only fun – you get to go out to the beach and listen to the waves crash against the sand, have a paddle and maybe do a bit of rock-pooling – but you also get to help the environment as well. So much litter is left or washed up on British shores every day and it often gets caught around animals’ necks or even eaten – both of which can be fatal. But even just two minutes with a carrier or bin bag can help sort this problem out. There are some beautiful Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserves like Flamborough and Spurn that we don’t want to get polluted – not only for wildlife’s sake, but also so we can enjoy looking out over the sea, without gazing at empty crisp packets and energy drink cans. Of course, you can do litter picking anywhere, it doesn’t have to be at a beach. Many of my favourite species, such as foxes, live in urban areas and there’s loads of litter you can easily pick up and you’re never far from a bin to drop it in. Doing this helps stop litter getting blown around and carried into streams and eventually the ocean, so in a way litter picking anywhere is beach cleaning.

All of these are activities you can do yourself or with other people and there are lots of events also taking place during 30 Days Wild. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is having a Big Wild Weekend on June 16-17 so check this out for lots of exciting nature activities and tick off two of your 30 wild days.

One that’s on my list this year is something I’ve not yet succeeded at: to find an adder on Allerthorpe Common. I haven’t seen one for a few years so hopefully this year I’ll get lucky! Although it doesn’t really matter if I don’t, as it’s a beautiful reserve and I’ll be out and about connecting with nature all the same. u

To sign up to the challenge and receive your free pack, visit www.wildlifetrusts.org/30dayswild.

Follow Zach on Twitter @nerdboy386, Instagram @looking_out_for_nature or check his blog yearofnature.blogspot.com.

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