Wild Wellbeing - Learning

The Five Ways to Wellbeing, developed by the New Economics Foundation, offer a helpful framework to help us connect to nature during lockdown. Each week, I’ll focus on a different one of these ways, giving you helpful tips and tricks to take time out, whatever you’re doing and wherever you are. This week we’re learning.

Right now, connecting to nature, and taking some time out is more important than ever, but knowing what to do can be daunting, especially if you’re not able to leave your house. The Five Ways to Wellbeing, developed by the New Economics Foundation, offer a helpful framework. For the next five weeks I’ll focus on one of each of these ways, giving you helpful tips and tricks to take time out, whatever you’re doing and wherever you are. This week we’re going to focus on learning.  

There’s evidence to suggest that continued learning throughout our lifetimes helps with self esteem and that setting challenging but achievable goals is associated with higher levels of wellbeing. There’s such a wealth of online classes out there that it can feel a bit overwhelming. Try to choose one thing at a time and focus on that, rather than setting yourself unrealistic goals. What’s particularly great about learning is that it’s fun to do together, so try doing some of the activities below with the people in your household, or with your friends and family via an online platform.

Whether you’ve got 5 minutes or 50, these simple actions can help you keep learning.

If you’ve only got a minute:

  • Learn a new word- Writer Robert Macfarlane (@RobFMacfarlane) shares a nature related word of the day on his Twitter account
  • Learn a bird song (the app ChirpOmatic is great for this- record the bird you can hear and ChirpOmatic will help you identify it). If you’ve got a little bit of time you can play their bird songs quiz- it will play songs to you and gets you to guess which ones you’re hearing from a multiple-choice list. I like that it plays the same song to you a few tries later so you can really practice.

If you’ve got 5 minutes or more:

  • Call a friend or a colleague- learn something new from them that you didn’t know before. I’ve been having lots of conversations with people about the pets they have, and the wildlife they’ve seen in their gardens. A favourite thing I’ve learnt this week is the different kinds of moths that might visit my garden at this time of year. I’ll be trying to spot some in my garden this week.
  • Discover more about wildlife - Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s YouTube channel has been revived and we’re sharing lots of short videos about wildlife you might see from your window and in your garden, as well as wildlife from further afield across the two counties. Try bringing nature to you, or the Secrets of the Solent wildlife discovery sessions and subscribe to get updates when we upload new videos.  

Watch now

  • Learn how to take action for wildlife- this page has lots of ideas of things you can do to help wildlife, wherever you live. 

Take action for wildlife

  • Do a wildlife puzzle or play a game -  Marianne, our Wilder Campaigns and Events Officer created a mad-libs out of one of our wilder blogs. We had a go at in our team group chat. Try it yourself, or share with friends and family.

Last year I decided to give up ____________(verb ending in -ing) ________ (preposition) the lawn in response to various sources encouraging people to give _________(noun*1) a chance. By the end of June, I had a ________(adjective) _______ (noun*2) where my _________ (adjective) lawn used to be!

 I began to get excited when I started counting the ________ (plural noun) and ________(plural noun). I don't have enough knowledge to identify everything, so I invited __________ (famous person) to visit. We both _________ (verb emotion) making a growing list of the things we saw appearing in my lawn.

My _________ (same noun as noun*2) brought a new dimension into my life. In the middle of October, I _________ (verb past tense) the lawn. This replicates old farming methods of ___________ (verb ending in -ing) hay and then _________ (verb ending in -ing) livestock. It accommodates the life cycles of _________ (same noun as noun*1). If the neighbours aren’t ___________ (adjective) - don't worry. The ____________ (same noun as noun*1) will thank you if they could. I hope this might persuade some of you to try your own __________ (noun) and that you also get some ___________ (noun) from the results

If you’ve got an hour or more:

  • Create and host an online wildlife quiz- you could try rounds on bird song, picture clues or even a round with wildlife related songs.
  • Read something about nature- there are some many amazing nature books out there, from stories of amazing people, to memoirs about how nature helped people to deep dives into fascinating wildlife. A few of my favourites are in the photo. There’s lots of local bookshops still delivering, but if you can’t get access to new books right now there’s lots to read online too. Our wildlife pages have species and habitat spotlights, how about learning about the ones near you?

Our wildlife page

Wildlife books
  • Join an online class- we’re hosting our first one: Sharing our Gardens and Outdoor Spaces with Wildlife (a shorter version of the face to face course we run) on 28th April at 10am via Zoom. Send us an email if you’re interested in signing up wilder@hiwwt.org.uk

How the Wildlife Trust is helping you connect to nature

Learning is only one pathway to wellbeing. Look out for next week's blog with another pathway to wellbeing.