Stay wild and stay connected to nature

Stay wild and stay connected to nature

A family walks outdoors as part of The Wildlife Trusts' 30 Days Wild nature challenge. Credit Evie and Tom Photography.

Over 730,000 people joined in with the 30 Days Wild challenge this year. Find out why, and what's next so that we can all stay wild all year.

The UK’s biggest nature challenge has now ended for another year. 30 Days Wild is the UK’s one and only month-long nature challenge from The Wildlife Trusts, and it invites everyone to do something wild – a random act of wildness! – every day in June, connecting us all with the beauty and wonder of the natural world. 

This year saw over 730,000 people across the country going wild and performing countless random acts of wildness – whether it was brushing up on their insect ID skills, taking a stroll around a local churchyard, or simply admiring dramatic skies. 

Other favourite random acts of wildness included listening to birdsong, exercising and eating outdoors, identifying and planting wild flowers, and going on a bug hunt. 

Girl looking at caterpillar

Photo by Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography

The highlight of my month had to be the magical uplift of spirits from listening to the busy chatter of birdsong each morning as I ate my breakfast in the garden – at least when the rather unseasonable June weather in south Oxfordshire allowed!  

For this year’s campaign we launched a new outdoor celebration, a mass outdoor breakfast to kickstart the month – a big breakfast bio-blitz! - and throughout the month people came together to enjoy our Big Wild Quiz, experience a back garden camp-out, and to hear from some of our much-loved literary luminaries, including Adam Nicolson, Brigit Strawbridge-Howard and Lucy Jones, to explore how nature has motivated their work and touched their lives. 

Man sitting on bench looking at lake

Photo by Matthew Roberts

Although 30 Days Wild is about having fun and rediscovering a wonder for nature, it also has a serious purpose. For we live on the wrong side of a broken connection to the natural world and the wildlife riches that previous generations lived with – miles of hedgerows shaking with dense flocks of farmland birds, clouds of butterflies, snowstorms of moths, seemingly endless carpets of wildflower meadows – are now mostly lost to us. And that loss impoverishes us all. Therefore, the aims of 30 Days Wild are to: 

  • Enable people to (re)build connection to the natural world 
  • Increase the health and wellbeing of participants 
  • Increase pro-nature behaviours, to benefit wildlife as well as people 

A five-year review by the University of Derby showed that taking part in 30 Days Wild brings sustained increases to health, happiness and nature connectedness (that is, a person’s relationship with nature and how emotionally close an individual feels to the natural word). The findings also showed that participants’ pro-conservation behaviours also increased over the course of the challenge. And restoring that connection to nature matters, as celebrated author and botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer writes: 

“Restoring land without restoring relationship is an empty exercise. It is relationship that will endure and relationship that will sustain the restored land. Therefore, reconnecting people and the landscape is as essential as re-establishing proper hydrology or cleaning up contaminants…here is where our most challenging and most rewarding work lies, in restoring a relationship of respect, responsibility and reciprocity. And love.” 

Family cycling

Photo by Matthew Roberts

We need more people on nature’s side and we need more nature everywhere, thriving as part of a vast rich nature network. 

So, stay wild!  Although the challenge is now finished for another year, keep up with those random acts of wildness – listen to the birdsong, eat outdoors, make a wildlife home, grow a wild patch and simply take time to pause and be attentive and open to the beauty and wonder of the world around us. Because nature, although bruised and battered is still awesome and wonderful, and to cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is truly one of our most pleasing, rewarding and joyful responsibilities. 

Take notice of the everyday wildness around you and savour the moment; connect with people around you and share your wildlife experiences; keep learning and let nature be your teacher; be active and explore your local wild places on foot or by bike; and give back, by doing something for nature and turning you garden or community space into a haven for wildlife. 

Because all our lives, human and non-human alike, are better when they are little bit wild. 

Find lots of ways to take action for wildlife here