Thoughts on 30 Days Wild 2019 by Gemma Paul

Painted lady butterfly © Gemma Paul

Gemma and her two young boys had a great time taking part in 30 Days Wild this year. Discover what Random Acts of Wildness they tried and how they plan to stay wild.

30 days wild is a something we look forward to every year. We have so many wonderful moments together and unforgettable experiences. Our favourite parts are always the  memorable close encounters with wildlife.

This year was no exception, the look of wonder and joy on my son’s face was priceless as he held baby hedgehogs at a hedgehog shelter, released butterflies that we had raised from caterpillars, stroked a snake and walked an Argentine Tegu lizard called Salvador.

Hedgehog © Gemma Paul

Hedgehog © Gemma Paul

We are lucky to have so many wonderful places near us to explore. Over the 30 days we visited several nature reserves, woodlands, meadows, country parks, farms, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams and parts of the shore. My son loved running wild, climbing, laughing and looking for wildlife along the way.

Jellyfish © Gemma Paul

Jellyfish © Gemma Paul

On the shore we found a giant jellyfish, gobi fish and a variety of seashells. We laughed at scuttling crabs and marvelled at a translucent little shrimp whilst crabbing on a tidal river.

Crab © Gemma Paul

Crab © Gemma Paul

We also carefully held different types of insects, listened to birdsong, smelt wild flowers, felt the grass between our toes, found egg shells from newly hatched birds, and picked and ate fresh strawberries, peas and beans.

Beans © Gemma Paul

Beans © Gemma Paul

We always learn and disover new things as we go along. This year we did some simple science experiments, growing different types of seeds, measuring rainfall, creating spore prints making a wormery and taking part in a Citizen science project on soil invertebrates.

Wormery © Gemma Paul

Wormery © Gemma Paul

We also volunteered our time and took park in nature conservation activities helping with a Bioblitz (an ecological survey) where we found newts and insects, litter picking, planting an oak tree, sowing wildflower seeds and making a wildlife pond.

Newt © Gemma Paul

Newt © Gemma Paul

On rainy days (there were a lot of those this year) we splashed in puddles, looked out for snails and baked biscuits flavoured with flowers and herbs from the garden.

Every year we also find a heart shaped stone from the shore as a memento of our adventures and activities.

Heart shaped stones © Gemma Paul

Heart shaped stones © Gemma Paul

For me 30 Days Wild is also very much about encouraging others to enjoy and care about nature, it’s about raising awareness and passing on knowledge, promoting conservation and supporting our local nature reserves and wildlife charities, not just for 30 Days Wild but as something we embrace as part of our daily lives all year round.

30 Days Wild 2019 © Gemma Paul

30 Days Wild 2019 © Gemma Paul

I want my children to grow up to enjoy and appreciate nature, to be inquisitive, curious and care about the world around them.

There are so many things you can do to help nature, from making your garden more wildlife friendly to litter picking, getting involved in conservation, going plastic free, petitioning the government, donating money or volunteering to help wildlife charities and nature reserves.

But the most important thing you can do is share your passion and enthusiasm for it, show pictures, share stories, educate and encourage others to join in with you.

We protect the things we care about, and in order to get society to care about nature we first have to get them to engage with it.

Everyone takes away something different away from their connection with nature.

For my five year old son it’s the joy of splashing through streams and puddles, climbing trees and running wild exploring.

For me it’s the general sense of well being and happiness I get just from being outside and close to nature. The enjoyment of finding or learning something new and the pleasure of nature photography.

Although 30 Days Wild is over we will continue to stay wild and hopefully have many more adventures throughout the year.

Beach discoveries © Gemma Paul

Beach discoveries © Gemma Paul

Our 30 Days Wild

For nature activity ideas to try yourselves please see the list below of everything we did for this year's 30 Days Wild:

30 Days Wild 2019 collage © Gemma Paul

30 Days Wild 2019 collage © Gemma Paul

  1. Strawberry picking and a mini beast hunt.
  2. Visited a hedgehog rescue and held baby hedgehogsidentified shells and balenced rocks on the shore.
  3. Planted an oak tree and started some seed growing experiments.
  4. Made candied rose petals.
  5. Made a wormery and took part in a Citizen science project on soil invertebrates.
  6. Made naturally scented and coloured playdough using herbs and flowers from the garden.
  7. Rainy day puddle splashing and saving snails.
  8. Helped with a bioblitz (an ecological survey) we found newts and insects. Then we held a snake and walked a lizard with the reptile academy.
  9. Looked for sea life on the shore with friends, we found a giant jellyfish, lots of little crabs and two Gobi fish.
  10. Made a rain measure and finished our seed experiments.
  11. Picked broad beans and looked for ladybirds amongst the wild daisy’s.
  12. Made welly boot plant pots and sowed wildflower seeds in the garden.
  13. Rainy day baking using herbs and flowers from the garden to make shortbread biscuits and nature themed baby sensory.
  14. A wildflower walk at a Peartree nature reserve.
  15. Pond dipping and woodland adventures with friends at Swanwick lakes nature reserve.
  16. Released and held some painted lady butterflies that we had raised from caterpillars.
  17. Made and played with some nature art frames.
  18. Created a wildlife pond for the garden.
  19. Made wildflower seeded paper to plant and grow.
  20. Snail racing, observation and tracking.
  21. Explored the shore, spotted butterflies in a wildflower meadow and made a stick rattle.
  22. Crabbing with friends and picking home grown peas to eat.
  23. Woodland adventures and setting tumble traps.
  24. Spore printing from mushrooms and looking at the insects we caught in our tumble traps.
  25. Made and buried a time capsule.
  26. Mud cakes, magic potions and leaf boats.
  27. Tree spirits, wildflower seed bombs and nature imprints from clay.
  28. Played nature games and had fun on the farm walking a goat.
  29. Painted rocks to hide, explored a woodland stream and entered a gardening competition.
  30. Nature watch fun at Sholing Valley nature reserve, finding insects and wildflowers whilst on a colour hunt.
30 Days Wild © Jon Hawkins / Surrey Hills Photography

© Jon Hawkins / Surrey Hills Photography

#StayWild

We hope that you had a fantastic time taking part in 30 Days Wild with The Wildlife Trusts. Hopefully your wild month has inspired you to get outdoors as much as you can throughout the year. 

How to Stay Wild