While the reserve remains closed and most of us are staying at home, let's not forget that there is still lots of potential to enjoy nature where we live!

Personally, I've been keeping an eye on the skies above my house in Lancaster looking out for passing birds and enjoying the noisy antics of the local house sparrows in my neighbourhood. In recent days I've also spotted peacock and small tortoiseshell butterflies plus bumblebees and ladybirds exploring my small garden area.

If you are looking for nature-themed activities to keep any youngsters occupied and engaged, make sure to check out the RSPB's Wild Challenge web page. There are loads of great ideas and projects to keep the family busy while helping to give nature a home! 

Below, Leighton Moss Learning and Visitor Assistant Jayne joins her daughter in the garden to create a little piece of wild space for wildlife!        

Let it grow, let it grow…

So spring has sprung and whilst we are at home trying to find things to keep ourselves and our children occupied, it’s a great opportunity to give RSPB Wild Challenge activities a try. Sign up now at www.rspb.org.uk/wildchallenge. Don’t feel that just because you don’t have children that this blog and the activities aren’t for you; whatever your age you can experience and help nature in your own garden, from your window or whilst out on your daily exercise walk (whilst observing social distancing guidance). There are many studies that show that time spent in nature can improve our mental and physical wellbeing, which we all need right now.

Over the coming weeks we will be sharing activities you can have a go at, giving you some top tips about Giving Nature a Home at home and generally helping to lift your spirits.

 Last night I saw a message from my local council in South Lakeland that our green bin collections would cease for the moment to allow them to concentrate on refuse and recycling. Therefore the first Wild Challenge activity my daughter and I are going to do is probably the easiest of all…Let it grow. The clue is in the title, let a small part or all of your lawn grow and let it go wild! 

The long grass will be great for insect life and you can keep a weekly photo diary to show how long and wild your very own mini jungle gets. If you decide to go for it and let your whole lawn grow then maybe you could mow a path through it, or create a maze, the possibilities are only limited by your creativity! 

So what can you do now to prepare to let it grow…

Decide on the area of lawn that you are going to let go wild. 

 Make signs and maybe put up a string fence or similar to let other family members know what you’re doing and remind them not to mow it whilst it’s growing.

Take the first picture for your diary, measure the length of the grass today on day 1 and decide when you are going to take the next picture and measure it again, weekly is probably best

Then let it grow!

Hopefully this sunny spring weather continues and you can have a go at this or other wild challenges. There will be more from us over the coming weeks so watch out, we will try and include challenges that can be done indoors too or adapted for a window sill or yard.

To finish a quote from Rachel Carson the author of the book Silent Spring: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”

Jayne Buchanan