Ep. 3 Rewilding
In this month’s podcast we interview the Heal Rewilding charity who are attempting to 'wild' our countryside for the good of us, our climate and our wildlife. And we celebrate the Wildlife Trust’s 30 Day Wild Campaign and find out from their Community Action Officer why we should all be dancing in the rain!
30 Days Wild
June is all about going wild outside for The Wildlife Trusts. They're asking each of us to pick one thing a day, which they call a Random Act of Wildness! If you want to sign up and receive your free pack of goodies, you can do so here.
In this month's podcast we interview Steve Dawson, from our local Gloucestershire Wildlife Trusts based in Gloucester, who told us, "30 Days Wild is all about getting people into nature. If they love nature, then they can then take action for nature. It's about that getting that emotion and connection going."
Here are some of Steve's ideas for going wild this June:
- Go dancing in a downpour.
- Go for a lunch with a friend in nature.
- Design a wild retreat or den in your woodlands or garden.
- Spy on the bugs in your garden.
- Use your smartphone to take pictures of flowers and then identify them using an App.
- Video a timelapse of the flowers in your garden chasing the sun.
- Paint or draw a picture of the wildlife in your garden.
- Try dipping toes in water in a local stream.
As Steve continues, "we are not asking people to take hours out from their working week. Just when you have free time. You need to appreciate and love nature, before you want to help it. And the benefits of nature on your mental health and wellbeing - well the evidence is just staggering. It's all about promoting green spaces wherever you live. Band together as a group or a community and engage with you local authority or contact your MP and ask them what are you doing to make green spaces."
Steve mentions the Environment Act 2020 in our podcast. Which, if passed, means it will become the lawful duty of a Local Authority to put nature at the forefront of all of its policies. You can read more about the Environment Act on the Wildlife Trusts website here.
Paul's garden, as mentioned on the podcast, and which is somewhat wild!
What about when it comes to rewilding our gardens? What is Steve's top tip?
"You could go on a hunt for a big log! Choose an area of your garden to plonk it down that's shady and it will encourage decomposers and detritivores to shelter. The decay helps to enrich the soil which is great for your plants. It's the same as starting composting in your garden - that will help by providing soil for plants but it's also a home for toads, slow worms and hedgehogs to hide away for the winter."
So, what is rewilding?
On our podcast, we also speak with Hannah and Eva from Heal Rewilding. This charity is crowdfunding to be able to buy patches of land in Britain to 'wild'. Their 3x3 campaign enables us all to purchase a square of this land for £20. Why? "To bring back to life through rewilding. Your donation will take us one step closer to acquiring our foundation rewilding site in the South of England."
When we ask Hannah on the podcast what it meant to rewild, this is what she had to say, "I think it is quite an emotive word and people often want to know how is it different conservation and land management. But really what it's all about is returning land to nature and letting nature be the primary driving force rather than humans. So giving land more space to breathe and letting it decide its fate rather than us careful manicuring the land and us decide it for it."
What can you do to help?
Hannah says one of the best things you can do to help the rewilding process is to contact your local council: “We have had loads of success engaging with local councils and community groups. When I went and approached groups that already existed, like village societies, they loved seeing young people doing something like this. It is so shocking to them! You’re the only young person in the room and so you get their attention immediately, just because it is so odd that they see you there!
"So when I suggest - we have this wild space why don’t we do this with it - the answer was always yes because there are so few people proposing things like this. We might propose a little pick. Or why don’t we do some conservation and record which species are there. The council even gave my group some funding to get wild flower seeds. By contacting community groups you are strong together."
Eva adds in the podcast, "Even if you are not drawn to helping in certain ways, it is almost like we are the last generation who can change things. There's a clock on it now. They say that in seven years climate change will be almost irreversible. So it's almost like not even 'oh what can we do to help' instead it's like 'oh my god we have to help'."
The Heal Future Network for young people now has over 200 volunteers who are passionate about rewilding. There are loads of opportunities with them from researching scientific papers to helping with social media posts, proofreading or contacting local businesses. You can find information about Heal Future here.
For more information about PlantLife's Every Flower Counts click here.
And to watch SpringWatch on iPlayer click here.
Lastly, the book Hannah mentions in our podcast, Wilding by Isabella Tree can be bought here.