When Instagrammer Alicja Sowinska spotted social media posts about The Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild challenge, her environment credentials came to the fore.
“I have always been environmentally motivated and driven, considering the impact I present within the environment and how my steps affect the nature around me”, says Alicja but admits that this is her first year participating in the event that challenges everyone to get in touch with nature every day during June.
Alicja said: “Participating this month has given me the chance to reflect on how I can contribute and take part for the benefit of the environment but also for myself, I go by a saying that I am a better version of myself when connected with nature and surrounded by wildlife that brings me happiness.
“Wilderness, nature and the outdoor environment for me has always been the way I cope with my mental health struggles. Being outdoors and staying productive has given me the opportunity to set goals for myself, focus on the positive aspects of self-development as from my perspective nature has had a major impact on who I am today, the actions I take and how I consider the environment and sustainability when approaching each day.”
Here’s what Alicja has been up to so far
The idea behind the Wildlife Trust campaign is to connect with nature every day for a month. Here’s how Alicja has approached this.
Enjoying simple walks. Find a nearby field or public pathway and take a stroll. Maybe on your own to clear your headspace or invite others -family or friends. Take some food and drinks and enjoy the company of yourself or others.
Appreciate the little things. I took some time on the first day to really pay attention to what I could find in my garden, I spotted a few honeybees and observed them for a while. It was truly amazing. They were not concerned by my presence at all but instead peacefully enjoying pollinating on the flowers.
Visit a local nature reserve. I have visited my local nature reserve, which for me is Attenborough Nature Reserve, and I encourage you to do the same. Travel by public transport, if it’s too far to walk, and pop down to feed the birds. Most nature reserves will have bird feed available for purchase at on-site cafes. Take some lunch to the reserve, have a peaceful walk around, write down or take photos of any wildlife you can see and enjoy your day soaking the sun surrounded by wildlife.
Volunteering at a local garden centre, or community garden. If you enjoy gardening or just like being productive, ask a local centre if you can volunteer for a few hours a week. It is also a perfect opportunity to connect with like-minded people and make friends.
Alicja says: “My focus this month has been around bees, it has been a visual change for me, upon spending time in nature and allowing myself to really understand them, their mission within the environment, how they benefit us but also how truly incredible they are. I have made it my mission to rebuild and restore their habitats starting with my own garden and I encourage you to do the same. It’s eye-opening the reality of how unique, important and amazing they really are.
“Pollinators are crucial as they help to create shelter and food for other insects and animals living within the ecosystem. The decreasing numbers in the population are worrying, without bees, we would be affected in many ways from decreasing oxygen levels, a decline in sustainable and fresh produce, growth of crops and plants as some require pollinators in order to thrive.”
Signing up for 30 days wild at nottinghamshirewildlife.org/30DaysWild will provide you with a free digital pack of goodies to help you plan your wild month, including an activity passport and a wallchart. Free wildflower seeds are also available to collect from Attenborough and Idle Valley Nature Reserve visitor centres during June and whilst stocks last. Wildflowers contribute to rebuilding habitats for bees and other insects
Alicja, who posts on Instagram at @its__alicja, adds: “This June if you are participating or looking to participate [in 30 Days Wild], remember it’s never too late. Don’t overthink or over plan. Of course, planning a day out is always good but sometimes overpowering your mind with too much can be damaging. Instead, be open to the fact that nature surrounds us from the moment we open our doors, take the leap and each day reach out and do a little towards your month of wilderness.
“If you are struggling with motivation or with mental health please don’t feel alone, I personally have faced a struggle to become more active, plan my days and motivate myself to become more involved but please remember this is okay. Some of us may not be the type of individuals to plan our days and others may be very keen to plan each day thoroughly. A ”task” such as participating in 30 days wild could seem daunting, a pressure may be put forward to plan ahead however, the last thing we would want when appreciating nature and wanting to build a presence that links us to the environment is to feel like stepping outdoors is a chore.
“If you only manage to complete a few days out of the month, don’t fear or stress. June isn’t the only month to appreciate nature.