How to have a wild 2020

Common carder bumblebee (Bombus pascuorum) foraging on Verbenum flowers (Verbenum bonariensis) in Wiltshire garden, UK, September. - Nick Upton/2020VISION

Around 60% of people will make at least one New Year’s Resolution. The top resolutions are the classics: lose weight; get fit; spend less - and on gloomy January evenings, gyms, swimming pools and running clubs are full of people determinedly focusing on their goals. How about breaking the mould and making a resolution to help wildlife in 2020?

Here are some resolutions that don’t ask you to stop doing anything, they just add to your life. They add experiences, memories and time outside, whilst helping wildlife and improving your health and wellbeing.

  • Visit new nature reserves – Avon Wildlife Trust manages 30 nature reserves. How many have you visited? Surprise yourself by visiting somewhere new. There is lots of choice; from the bluebell woodland of Prior’s Wood to the wonderful grassland and spectacular views from Dolebury Warren. And if you visit our Folly Farm reserve you may catch a glimpse of our new Exmoor ponies, doing a wonderful job of munching through tough scrub and grasses to allow delicate, rare wildflowers to flourish in the future. Our region is beautiful, experience it!
  • Take part in 30 Days Wild this June! Simply pledge to do something ‘wild’ every day in June. It’s great fun and so rewarding to see how getting some ‘wild time’ every day makes you feel happier and healthier. Look out on our website and social media near to June to sign up for and you’ll receive a wonderful pack including a wallchart and ideas to try incorporating a wild moment into every day of the month.
  • Get involved in a ‘local group’.  We have five local groups, covering the areas of:  Chew Valley; Keynsham; Gordano Valley; Portishead and Southwold.  Join one of these groups to meet like-minded individuals in your area or if there isn’t one near you, create your own. Our local groups support campaigns and carry out valuable fundraising for the Avon Wildlife Trust to help protect local wildlife.
  • Make Every Child Wild! Many children are spending less than 30 minutes per week playing outside. If you compare this to parents and grandparents, this is a startling decline. Help us to change this, whether you have your own children, or can share your knowledge and passion about wildlife with someone in your family. Go for walks, feed the birds or make a den in the woods. And check out our regular My Wild Child nature activity sessions for under-fives in green spaces around Bristol.
  • Do your bit to turn Bristol into a nature reserve. If Bristol’s green spaces and gardens were all made wildlife-friendly, this would attract wildlife right up to our doorsteps. Do your bit by adding a bird box, growing beautiful wildflowers or leaving a patch of your lawn long. Think of a city buzzing with bees, butterflies and birds, what a wonderful place to live. Visit our wildflower nursery at our Feed Bristol site in Stapleton to get friendly advice and buy your wildflowers. We grow more than 100 different varieties of wildflowers from seed using organic, sustainable methods.
  • Raise money for wildlife. Think about a way to be creative and use your abilities to help us. It could be doing a wildlife-themed bake off or a sponsored run or bike ride. Every donation we receive is used to help local wildlife.
  • Learn a new skill. There’s so much to learn about the natural world. Why not learn to recognise birdsong, or to identify wildflowers, mushrooms or species of insects? Butterflies are a great breed to learn to ID because we only have 59 species in Britain, and you will start to see them in February. Have a look at the courses we’re running during 2020 where you can build your knowledge.

Whatever your resolutions, good luck in sticking with them through 2020 – and hopefully these ideas might give you a way to build some wild into your year ahead!

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