Despite the cold and short days, winter can be an amazing time to connect with nature and there really is no excuse for taking your cue from the hedgehog and hibernating until the spring. The best way of brightening the dark days is to let nature into your life to warm your heart, and one of the simplest ways to do this is by taking a trip to a park or local nature reserve with a loved one or a close friend. Meeting outdoors continues to be the safest way to meet people face-to-face – so where could be better than a spectacular natural green space where you can breathe deep on fresh air and take in the view.
Once you’ve decided to head out you could choose to get up early to catch the sunrise or head to a favourite to watch the sunset. If you want a truly magical experience go online to find out where you can see a starling murmuration locally or look out for a corvid roost where you can take in the sight and sound of hundreds, if not thousands, of rooks and crows gathering raucously at dusk.
On wet days you could simply choose to watch wildlife through your window or perhaps shop online for a new bird feeder or a nest box to provide a home for next year’s chicks. In addition to actively seeking out wild activities, you could choose to tune in to the natural world by taking a technology detox and switching off all your gadgets and ignoring social media for 24 hours.
For many people, 2020 has been the year they’ve discovered a new passion for nature. If that’s been the case for you why not commit to fundraise for wildlife in 2021 or to seek out volunteering to give something back to nature and to support the green spaces that have supported you throughout the year? You could, also think up a bucket list of all the wild places and wild species to experience in 2021.
A wealth of winter wildlife is out there waiting to be discovered and parks, public gardens and nature reserves are there to be explored. Your wild acts could be little things that help nature, such as remembering to recycle your Christmas tree or planting a native tree in your garden to create space for wildlife and absorb carbon from the atmosphere. Don’t let winter wildlife pass you by or you will miss out on experiences that will warm your heart despite the cold. Although spring is just around the corner, that’s no excuse to wait until then to get your wild fix.
We’re delighted that our car park at Idle Valley Nature Reserve is now back open and we’re currently working to reopen the café, shop and reception. To reopen, and keep open, we need more volunteer support so, if you would like to help welcome visitors to this amazing nature reserve this winter, get in touch via www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/volunteer.
Images: © Trevor Wigham, © Lucy Wallington