Children to benefit from national wildlife challenge

Thursday 26th May 2016

Children of Sheffield and Rotherham are being urged to get out into nature this June as part of a national wildlife event that has been shown to improve health and wellbeing.

Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust (SRWT) is supporting the 30 Days Wild challenge by providing schools with specially designed packs full of ideas about how to take learning outside the classroom. The Trust is also running a series of events at its nature reserves aimed at helping children to have fun outdoors. The daytime sessions include lessons on woodland skills delivered by SRWT’s trained and experienced staff, as well as fun activities based on a pirate theme.

 

What is 30 Days Wild?

The challenge is simple – get thousands of people across the UK to do one positive environmental thing (a Random Act of Wildness) everyday throughout June, such as a lunchtime walk in the park, planting wildflowers for bees and other pollinators, or simply feeding the birds. It’s free to join, just sign up at www.wildlifetrusts.org/30DaysWild.

The argument for making sure everyone is able to connect with nature on a daily basis is a persuasive one. As people get older, it can become more and more difficult to find the opportunity to get out and about. At the same time, threats to local biodiversity mean children are increasingly missing out on the benefits of freely exploring the natural world.

Chris Smith, Senior Outdoor Learning Officer at Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, said: “Kids are spending less time outdoors than ever before and Wild Play gives them the opportunity to get out into the wild to learn, explore and be active.”

 

Recorded benefits

Over 18,500 people took part in last year’s 30 Days Wild challenge to do something wild every day for a month, and the effect was quite astonishing.

A study by the University of Derby showed that people who took part in the challenge reported improvements in their physical and mental wellbeing, with the benefits lasting for months afterwards.
SRWT runs regular events throughout the year as part of its Wild Play programme. These family events take place in the school holidays at the Trust’s nature reserves, as well as at the JG Graves Woodland Discovery Centre in Ecclesall Woods and Boston Castle in Rotherham. The sessions are run by the Trust’s trained staff and involve nature trails, craft activities and, for the more adventurous, bushcraft and survival skills.

What’s on offer this half term?

Throughout the Spring Bank Holiday, dedicated staff will be on hand to show youngsters how to make their own pirate swords and hoist the Jolly Roger as part of the Ecclesall Woods Wild Play - Wild Pirates events. Children will also be invited to join in a host of pirate games, and if they’re really unlucky, they could be made to walk the plank!

And on Thursday, Wild Side at Greno Woods is hosting an It's a knock out! day. These sessions will show children how to use hand tools and natural woodland materials to make a mallet and a tent peg. With these and other Wild Side events, children are offered a chance to learn new woodland skills and have fun outside while doing it.

 

Nature not just for children

Engaging with wildlife is not just beneficial for the very young, older people can also feel a great sense of satisfaction from getting out and about in nature. SRWT’s Wild at Heart project gives people over 50 the chance to get close to nature, have a lot of laughs and share stories about the natural world through a range of classes, including:

  • Wildlife gardening
  • Nature photography
  • Nature-inspired arts and crafts
  • Seasonal guided walks

The Big Lottery-funded project aims to improve people’s wellbeing by providing a connection with nature through simple, hobby based activities. The project works with older people who have potentially become isolated over the years.

So no matter how old you are or where you live, make nature part of your daily life this June and join the conversation using #30dayswild.

For more information, visit our website at http://www.wildsheffield.com