As we are all spending a lot more time indoors and with many of us having limited or no access to green spaces or a garden - we are interested in how nature can reach us, inspire us, and be part of our lives even when we are inside. Please let us know how you're managing to stay connected to nature during the lockdown and feel free to try some (or all) of the ideas in our 'Connecting to nature' calendar...
Inspired by some of our recent work on connection to nature, including our Nature Prescriptions Project, and research by Derby University - we have put together some ideas in the form of a 4 week calendar, adapted for the indoors and available as a download below.
We would also love to know more about your relationship to nature during this time, whether it is from inside your home, through a window or out on a daily walk. We asked some of our staff to share their experiences of connecting to nature within a city, and here's what they had to say:
“I’m lucky enough to live near a city centre park. Given that we’re encouraged to stay close to home, I try and expand my horizons by getting out to exercise at a different time each day; so maybe I’ll experience the backdrop of bees bumbling around bright yellow gorse flowers on a sunny afternoon, the drama of the dawn chorus, or the cool earthy smells of dusk. By exploring my local patch at different times throughout the week, I feel like I’m building up a much bigger picture of what’s around me, and tuning-in more closely to the subtle changes that are happening from one day to the next.”
“There’s a blackbird who has been landing on the skylight above my bed every morning to drink the dew or rain that collected there in the night. At first the frantic clattering of his feet on the glass as he tried to grip was unsettling, but now I look forward to seeing his muffled outline from below, and watch him slide ungainly down the slope of the roof. When he’s drank his fill, I know it’s time to get up and start my day!”
“I’ve been really missing my time outside, particularly as I only have a very sterile view of a carpark from my window. Planting some geraniums and watching them grow and change has helped me reconnect to nature a little and see that time is moving on – even when it doesn’t feel like it."
“For me, it has been about the simple things I can see from my window, read about in a book, conjure up in my memories. I am focusing less on what I can see, but more on how it makes me feel. I am taking the time to notice what nature means to me, and how I feel about my relationship with the rest of the natural world. Because nature is out there, and in me - no matter where I am.”
“Each dusk, creeping in through a small opening in my bedroom window, the solitary song of a blackbird atop an ageing telegraph pole can be enough to dispel the woes of being caged in a tenement flat for 23 long hours a day.”
“For me, connecting with nature is a constant touchstone, particularly during these challenging times. This morning, after reading the daily news, I noticed feelings of frustration, tiredness and some sadness at the current state of affairs, along with worrying thoughts about what the day might bring. I put the news to one side and looked out of the window. It was early morning and the full moon was setting in a glowing haze on the horizon. The pinkish rays of the sunrise started to fill the sky and a blackbird started singing nearby. Immediately I noticed a bubble of joy rising in my chest, a smile on my face and a feeling of contentment. In that moment, all was well. Yes, we can notice and work with the difficulties in daily life, but it’s also important to take in the good that is all around us too. Nature offers this in abundance.”
“I enjoy a couple of plant ID apps, I use them during my walks and target all those wild weeds that grow around pavements etc (my favourite). It’s cool finding out their names, uses and history. You feel more connected to the space.”
“Whilst I am fortunate enough to go for a walk each day and have access to a garden, the room that I work each day, has a window from which I can only see the sky when sitting down – so sometimes to help me stay calm but focussed when working, I play the Birdsong radio.”
As lockdown restrictions look set to relax in the not too distant future, it'll likely be a little while longer before life returns to 'normal'. Nature appears to be the glue that's holding many of us together throughout this pandemic, so please do share with us how you're managing to keep your daily dose of nature a permanent feature in your life, email us at email@example.com.
Download the 'Connecting to nature' calendar: 4578.7563.2248.4263.3007.8475.4682.Connecting to nature calendar.pdf
Images: Dunnock_John Bridges (rspb-images.com)/ Blackbird_Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)/ Red admiral butterfly_Jenny Tweedie (rspb-images.com)
Hi Anthony, what a perfect way to spend time on your walks. Making memories that will last a lifetime ️
Wonderful, thanks for letting us know Alison. Where would we be without our daily dose of birdsong hey :)
We are very fortunate in that we have a garden and plenty of good walking routes around us. My 9 year old daughter and I go walking every day and note all the different creatures we see. By varying our times and routes we have noted nearly 80 wild roaming species of bird, insect, fish and animal within our locality. We’ve also enjoyed the time to watch the changes in the trees and the plants in our garden. Through social media we’ve watched robins hatch in a friends shed and we check on the local tadpoles and the starling chicks in our neighbours gutter each day...
The local robins are everyone's favourite here in Penge, south-east London. Their bright and bold song is giving endless pleasure to new generations of nature lovers as we get out on our daily walks in the local parks. I normally volunteer as a Wednesday morning gardener at the Penge Green Gym, and, although I am unable to do this at present because of the coronavirus lockdown, I can still walk there every day. It is lovely to see how many families are enjoying their visits to our little park at Winsford Gardens.
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