Back in June this year, The Wildlife Trusts in the UK launched the 30 Days Wild campaign to get people outside and connect with nature. Although the project was aimed at residents in the UK, many people – myself included – participated from around the world. The website for 30 Days Wild was a source of inspiration, full of ‘Random Acts of Wildness’ which they described as “any thing that you can do in an average working day to bring a little nature into your life. They can take a few seconds, a few minutes, or if you lose yourself completely, a few hours!” The website, which is still available to view, lists 101 nature activities to do – everything from taking a nap in the grass to investigating tracks and signs. Each activity also has simple instructions or activity sheets to help you along. It looks like the campaign is going to run again in 2016 so if you missed out in 2015 you’ll have another chance to participate.
Although most of what I do on a daily basis revolves around nature in some way, I found challenges sticking to the commitment of interacting with nature daily. I discovered that by having this project to commit to, I would rethink daily or regular activities. For example, instead of sitting inside reading books to my daughter, we’d take our books outside and read under the tree. On the first day of the project it rained, and if not for the project we may have stayed inside. Instead we headed out for a rain walk. 30 Days Wild also helped me think more widely about how nature is part of our daily lives and how it can become integrated even more. There is always room for more nature. Although we didn’t conscientiously continue making every day wild, I find that looking back on my photos from the summer, almost every day includes something of nature. Although the weather has kept us in a little more this autumn and winter, we still regularly watch the birds or weather from the windows.
While I followed many of the ideas on the 30 Days Wild website, I came up with a lot of my own ideas as well. For the most part my 3 year old daughter was my partner in the activities. Following is a summary of our 30 Days Wild.
My 30 Days Wild
Day 1: We went for a walk in the rain, watched Canada Geese and collected their dropped feathers, and watched an Osprey hunting over the lake.
Day 2: We counted all the flowers blooming in our yard finding a whopping 53 different species.
Day 3: We walked down to the lake and sat and watched the swallows flying over the water.
Day 4: We ventured a little farther from home to Seward Park and explored the lake shore, finding many treasures including feathers, shells, a wet bumble bee and a stickleback’s head.
Day 5: We returned to Seward Park’s shorelines and found many washed up stickleback fish. We noticed the crows along the shore and found the remains of many fish on a rock where the crows were gathering. We also took our shoes off and dipped our toes in the water.
Day 6: We watched a crow our front yard spend a lot of time scolding and diving at the neighbor’s cat who was wandering through our yard. We realized the reason for the behavior was a juvenile crow in the front tree.
Day 7: We set out our moth trap the night before and in the morning checked to see what was there. We found a few small moths and a crane fly.
Day 8: We found a strange fish, possibly a pike minnow, washed up on the shore at Seward Park and examined it closely. It was very strange looking down its mouth.
Day 9: Along our Seward Park walk we encountered a swallowtail butterfly which allowed me to get very close. We also found many more washed up stickleback fish on the shore.
Day 10: We went for a walk in the park.
Day 11: We traveled to Glacier National Park and after arriving we drove up the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass where we found a group of Big Horn Sheep and beautiful scenery.
Day 12: At Glacier National Park we went on a hike to Avalanche Lake along a raging, but beautiful canyon river. On the way back down the trail we encountered a black bear who was heading up the trail. It ushered a group of hikers back up the trail until it left the trail.
Day 13: Another day at Glacier National Park we drove to East Glacier where we saw beautiful lakes and waterfalls.
Day 14: At Glacier National Park we first hiked along McDonald Creek and saw waterfalls, then we went on a boat tour of Lake McDonald.
Day 15: We drove back up Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass where we hiked in the snow looking for Mountain Goats. We saw a few way up on top of the mountain and as we left we encountered one on the road.
Day 16: On our final day at Glacier National Park we went on a short hike and visited the nature center.
Day 17: Back at home I attended a talk about pollinators.
Day 18: We took our books outside and read under the tree.
Day 19: We collected flowers and brought them inside to make nature prints by hitting them with hammers onto paper.
Day 20: I attended an all-day class all about lichens, going on a lichen walk and then looking at them in a lab under microscopes.
Day 21: I shared nature photos on social media.
Day 22: We rescued a moth from the middle of the path and put it on a leaf off to the side. We also found many moths on the restroom walls at the park.
Day 23: I made a pocket plant press to keep in my bag and mounted two herbarium specimens.
Day 24: We collected lichens from under our tree to see how many we could find. I also spent time observing all the different insects on the daisies in our backyard.
Day 25: We went on a backyard bug hunt and found many different insects on our flowers and plants.
Day 26: We went camping at Denny Creek.
Day 27: We hiked up Denny Creek and found many interesting butterflies, beetles and dragonflies and played in the water.
Day 28: I spent a long time sitting on rocks along the creek watching the water and Dippers before going home.
Day 29: We spent time looking at our flower meadow and then watched a lightning storm at night.
Day 30: We got down in the grass to get a bug’s eye view of our flower meadow.