30 Days Wild: reconnecting with nature

 During June I took part in 30 Days Wild, the campaign organised by the Wildlife Trusts. Along with the 430,000+ other people who took part in what was the UK’s biggest nature challenge, I was encouraged to do something each day that connected me to nature – a “daily random act of wildness” as the Wildlife Trusts put it! I decided to rekindle my love of wildlife photography by snapping something new and interesting that I saw in the garden and further afield.

 As well as taking the chance to photograph things which I see quite often on our bird feeder – robins, blue tits , blackbirds – I was amazed by what I experienced when I took the time to stop and look properly. I saw many things I had never seen, heard or smelled before (maybe simply because I wasn’t trying hard enough!). From a stunning hummingbird hawkmoth hovering to feed above a valerian flower to an amazing harlequin ladybird larva on a helianthemum plant. The referee’s whistle call of a nuthatch to the high-pitched buzz of a hoverfly. The miniature menace of a jumping Zebra spider on a garden fence to an slinky smooth slow worm basking in the sunshine on a heath trail. Raindrops sparkling like jewels on a rose leaf (cue Julie Andrews!) to the spectacular perfect symmetry of rowan leaves back lit by afternoon sun. The feel of the soft bark around the base of a mighty tall conifer to the smell of newly emerged funghi on an old tree stump. All free, all there for me to enjoy – I only needed to open my eyes, ears and nose to experience these things.

 Research carried out by the Wildlife Trusts and University of Derby highlights the benefits we all get from daily contact with nature – both in terms of our overall health but also our happiness. Being more connected to nature, getting a better understanding of how our natural world impacts and benefits us all, recognising that nature plays an important part in all of our lives and needs to be cherished – these are all things which 30 Days Wild has helped me to focus on in this particularly challenging period of our lives. It has also made me even more aware that, without a real resolve from us all to live in harmony with and protect our natural environment, this amazing variety of sights, sounds, smells may not be available to future generations to experience. Above all, that is what I will take away from my 30 days nature sight-seeing!


Jim Haywood

Director Achill Management and Producer Planet Pod