With longer, brighter and warmer days now upon us, the urge to get out and about exploring and breathe in some fresh air is strong. After a long, dreary winter cooped up indoors, our bodies and minds are well and truly craving some nature therapy. And no wonder! It is well-known that time spent outdoors has a multitude of benefits for the body and mind, reducing stress levels and improving mood, and I know for sure that our family relationships thrive and blossom when we make space for some wild time on our calendar.
Grow Wild have joined with the wonderful folks at The Woodland Trust this year to produce a great collection of factsheets, which are completely free to download, that you can take with you on your out and about adventures and explorations to see if you can spot any UK native trees and wildflowers. You can take the handy little fact cards with you wherever you go, whether it be on a leisurely weekend stroll, a dander in your local park or even on the way to work.
By keeping your eyes peeled you will be taking part in nationwide nature quest (and everyone loves a quest don’t they?), as well as adding to research which dates back as far as 1736! Wow! This project is believed to be the longest written record of its kind in the UK and is an invaluable source of information for researchers across the world trying to understand the impact of climate change on nature. You can sign up and add your own findings on the Nature Calendar, and play a really important role in helping scientists understand how climate change affects wildlife.
Get the kids on board, encouraging them to be budding explorers and reminding them that they are important scientific researchers, and have fun seeing who can spot the most bluebells; Ash trees; Garlic Mustard; Oxeye Daisies; English Oak trees; and Silver Birch. Take some snapshots of your findings and share them with Grow Wild UK (@GrowWildUK) using #NatureQuest, and be part of this special initiative to recognise and celebrate UK native trees and wildflowers. Plus, you can have the added incentive of putting your own knowledge to the test by checking if you really can tell the difference between a UK native bluebell and a non-native bluebell! The competition is on!
I am looking forward to spending more time in the great outdoors over the coming months and these beautifully presented factsheets will without a doubt be a great way to appreciate and learn more about the nature that surrounds us. I hope you will have fun with them too!