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Stars back 30 Days Wild national nature challenge

Wednesday 30th May 2018

30 Days Wild30 Days Wild

55,000 people, and rising, sign up to go wild in June as naturalists, TV presenters and authors back The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild national nature challenge to do something ‘wild’ every day during June.

Author Abi Elphinstone, TV presenter Gillian Burke and chart-topping James McVey from The Vamps have all put their weight behind the campaign to reconnect people with wildlife in a fun and inspirational way.

More than 55,000 people, schools and workplaces have signed up to 30 Days Wild which starts on Friday 1 June. Sign-ups are rising, and we hope to beat last year when an estimated 250,000 took part.

30 Days Wild encourages people to notice nature on their doorsteps every single day and gives them a multitude of exciting and fun ways of doing it.

Gillian Burke, TV presenter, biologist and BBC Springwatch presenter, is supporting 30 Days Wild. Will she dance in a downpour as one of her Random Act of Wildness?  “Try 30 Random Acts of Wildness in 30 Days! I’d love people to connect with the wildlife around them – I think lots of people don’t know how to do it… this is the perfect way to start and discover how you can make a difference. Where will your wild adventure take you? I might dance in a downpour!”

Kate Humble, TV presenter, wildlife, nature and science programmes says:
“I have got a challenge, I want you – throughout the month of June – to go outside every day! That’s 30 whole days going outside. Why wouldn’t you? Just go wild in June!”

Research shows taking part in 30 Days Wild improves health and happiness and encourages people to do something to help wildlife.

Nick Baker, naturalist and TV presenter says:
“Ever since I was a small boy I’ve been fascinated by wildlife and the natural world. It’s so important for us all to have regular contact with nature – I know it makes me feel happier and healthier. Taking the 30 Days Wild challenge is a brilliant way to reconnect with your own wild side – so why not get out and go wild this June?”

New this year is the first ever Big Wild Weekend on 16 and 17 June: Over 100 wildlife events bushcraft, osprey trails, mammal tracking, wild sleepovers, wild picnics and more!

Abi Elphinstone, author of the bestselling children’s novel SKY SONG, spent her childhood building dens and running wild across highland glens. She says:
“My siblings and I used to camp under the stars up the glen, fish our pond for giant beetles and scramble over the moors in search of hidden waterfalls – and I believe the reason I am a writer is because the wilderness I explored as a child made me one. Every child should have the chance to go ‘wild’, which is why I’m supporting 30 Days Wild. Connect with the wild world around you and have an adventure.”

Levison Wood, explorer, writer, photographer and TV presenter says:
“Basically, go outside, get stuck in, and do 30 Days of random acts of wildness! It can be anything from reading your favourite nature book, planting a tree, building an insect hotel, whatever takes your fancy. Please go and get stuck in – you can download your wildlife pack free; sign up!”

Sophie Pavelle, zoologist and science communicator says:
“30 Days Wild is a fantastic excuse for us to do what I think deep down we all instinctively love and need – to spend time outside, amongst nature and the wildlife around us. Some of the best ‘wild’ things to do are free, on your doorstep and so much fun! And once you’ve started doing wild things, like dusk walks or mini bioblitzes around your local area – it’s totally addictive. I dare you not to love 30 Days Wild and want to continue it every day.”

James McVey, writer and guitarist in The Vamps says:
“I’m supporting The Wildlife Trusts’ national challenge of spending 30 Days Wild – every day in June they are asking you guys to do something wild. Now – that could be going camping somewhere if you’ve never been camping, it could be doing an off-road trail, climbing a massive hill that you’ve always wanted to do but never done – but it could also be something as simple as recycling if you’ve never recycled before or buying a reusable water bottle.”

30 Days Wild pack

Sign-up to 30 Days Wild and you’ll get a free pack with a booklet of inspirational ideas for Random Acts of Wildness, a recipe for wild strawberry and thyme ice cream, wildflower seeded paper to sow, a wall chart to record your activities and wild stickers.

There are special packs for schools with outdoor lesson plans and giant Random Acts of Wildness cards. Workplaces can join in too, with tailored download packs to bring the ‘wild’ to work.

New research

New research shows that 30 Days Wild is unique in improving people’s perception of beauty in nature, and that noticing natural beauty makes people happier and want to care for it.

30 Days Wild is encouraging people to make their neighbourhoods wilder and green-up their streets, to help wildlife and to share the joy of nature.

Dr Miles Richardson, Director of Psychology, University of Derby explains: “Over the past three years we’ve repeatedly found that taking part in 30 Days Wild improves health, happiness, nature connection and conservation behaviours. Now we’ve discovered that engagement with the beauty of nature is part of that story.

“Tuning-in to the everyday beauty of nature becomes part of a journey which connects us more deeply to the natural world. As people’s appreciation of natural beauty increases, so does their happiness. We respond to beauty – it restores us and balances our emotions. This, in turn, encourages people to do more to help wildlife and take action for nature.”

Lucy McRobert, Campaigns Manager for The Wildlife Trusts says: “30 Days Wild is a lovely way to get closer to nature and marvel at the everyday wildlife that lives all around you. Sit quietly and enjoy watching dragonflies dance over a pond or take a moment to sow a window-box of wildflowers to help bees. Get together with your neighbours to create hedgehog highways or sow front-garden meadows along the length of your street. No matter how small the action, it all counts!”

University of Derby’s evaluation of 30 Days Wild

The University of Derby have monitored participants of 30 Days Wild since it began in 2015.
30 Days Wild: Development and Evaluation of a Large-Scale Nature Engagement Campaign to Improve Well-Being by Miles Richardson, Adam Cormack, Lucy McRobert, Ralph Underhill was published Feb 2016. Online here.

A summary of the evaluations done of the participants of 30 Days Wild 2016 and 2017 are here.

Beyond Restoration: How 30 Days Wild increases engagement with nature’s beauty and brings well-being by Miles Richardson and Kirsten McEwan, Centre for Psychological Research, University of Derby, is being prepared for publication. Participants were asked to rate statements about their Engagement With Natural Beauty on a scale of 1 to 7. They were asked if they felt it as beautiful – it being experiences with nature and the physical world including, mountains, rocks, rivers, lakes, oceans, deserts, plants, flowers, trees, animals. The statements are:
1. I notice beauty in one or more aspects of nature
2. When perceiving beauty in nature I feel changes in my body, such as a lump in my throat, an expansion in my chest, faster heart beat or other bodily responses
3. When perceiving beauty in nature I feel emotional, it “moves me,” such as feeling a sense of awe or wonder or excitement or admiration or upliftment
4. When perceiving beauty in nature I feel something like a spiritual experience, perhaps a sense of oneness, or being united with the universe, or a love of the entire world

Participants in 30 Days Wild completed a questionnaire at the start of the month of June, post 30 days and again two months later. Contact University of Derby press office: 01332 591891 pressoffice@derby.ac.uk

30 Days Wild fact file
• 2015: 30 Days Wild challenge was started by The Wildlife Trusts; 12,400 people signed up
• 2016: 25,000 people signed up including individuals, families, schools and businesses
• 2017: 49,000 people signed up including individuals, families, schools and businesses – estimated 254,960 participants.