Get outdoors and connect with nature!
The focus of last week’s #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek was #ConnectingWithNature. It highlighted just how important it is for us all to get outside and immerse ourselves in the natural world. Being outside and amongst wildlife is undoubtedly good for us physically and mentally and I wholeheartedly recommend you all do as much of it as possible. (But not until you’ve finished reading this blog, of course!)
My local nature patch has been an absolute lifesaver during the past year or so, with my daily wander being my place of solace throughout tricky times. My 3.5-mile loop around wetlands and across a couple of fields has been an inspirational place to spend time away from the dining table office.
During this period, I have got to know birds on an individual basis – shout out to Mr Robin who sings from the same fence post every time I go past! And, for the first time in my life, I have been able to watch a butterfly lifecycle in full – from observing the egg being laid all the way through to the freshly-emerged adult pumping up its wings and flying off into the world. A truly magical experience!
These personal connections with nature have helped me navigate a difficult winter and further drive me to encourage more of you out there to engage with your local wildlife. In my opinion, getting outside and sharing a space with nature is the single most rewarding thing a person can do!
Thursday 20th May is Outdoor Classroom Day, so read on to discover out why learning outside provides teachers and their students with amazing opportunities to connect with nature, experience multiple benefits and hopefully get to know lots of wildlife that cheers you on when you do PE on the school field!
Why is outdoor learning great?
The benefits of learning outside the classroom are well-proven, with outdoor learners likely to be healthier, happier and fitter. From a mental health point of view, being out in nature can reduce feelings of anxiety and promote positive emotions.
Taking learning outside provides learners with opportunities to be more creative, learn leadership skills and develop new relationships with their peers… And it’s fun!
This year, Outdoor Classroom Day is on Thursday 20th May and you can find out more information about how to get involved by visiting outdoorclassroomday.org.uk/about.
Activities from us – Wildlife Detective
Now is the perfect time to get outside and look for the signs of nature. Birds are melodically shouting about everything from how brilliant their territory is, to how great a partner they’d make. Solitary bees are popping out of bare patches of earth, bug hotels and other assorted holes all over the place to visit beautiful flowers. Butterflies and dragonflies flutter and whizz as you wander by.
A great activity for the family is to become a wildlife detective and go on a mission to discover as many signs of wildlife as you can. To help you, we have created a fun activity sheet, which you can download right now!
Where you look is up to you… the garden, your local park or school field, your nearest heath. The important thing is that you get outside!
Let me know how you get on!
Education and Engagement Officer