#30dayswild Q&A on why our kiddies need wild time!!

I can't believe that we are nearing the end of another #30dayswild! It's flown by, just like all the little sparrows that have been visiting our garden throughout the month. For the second year running we have been getting out and about doing at least one random act of wildness each day and sharing it over on Instagram. From bug hunting and den building to writing poems and designing homes for wildlife, here are a few highlights from our month of wildness!

Getting up close to nature!

Exploring our local woods!

Going on bug hunts!

Making Nature Masks!

As #30dayswild is almost over for this year, we thought it would be a nice idea to invite a lovely lady onto our blog, who was part of the team who set up #30dayswild, for a Q&A session. So I will pass you over to Jade:

Hello, Mama_Scrumpy here!  In the non-virtual world, my name is Jade and I live in Somerset, England with my husband and my 15 month old boy. The mention of the non-virtual world is a key one, stay tuned... 

When Nicola got in touch to ask if I would like to take part in a question and answer session for #30DaysWild, I was delighted! This campaign is something I am passionate about because, firstly, I am a huge nature lover. In fact, why wouldn't we all be? We're humans, we are nature. Secondly, I am proud to have worked on this campaign from the moment it fluttered into my inbox as a seedling of an idea. Since motherhood, I have been working freelance in marketing and events. Until very recently however, I worked for nearly five years at Avon Wildlife Trust, one of the 47 Wildlife Trusts across the country. 

My boy and I are happier in nature. Screen time has its place, but we are part nature, not part screen.

I'll hand over to Nicola now for the questions:

Thank you Jade! 

Now you have all met Jade, let's ask her some wild questions:

1) Who thought of #30dayswild and why was it set up? 

#30DaysWild is an initiative from the Wildlife Trusts. The Wildlife Trusts is a grassroots movement of people and an independent charity working to save our beautiful wild places, wild seas and wildlife. In their own words "We need nature and it needs us. We're here to make the world wilder and make nature a part of life, for everyone. We're helping to make life better, for wildlife, for people and for future generations." 

You'll see from this quote that they aim to make the world wilder, for the benefit of wildlife AND people. From this, #30DaysWild was born. We know that people are happier if they spend time in nature. We know that nature needs our help. We know we need nature to survive; I'm not talking about a merry walk in a meadow (thought that's lovely). I'm talking about clean water, clean air and food on our plates. People will act to save things they love, so #30DaysWild rekindles our love for wild time by encouraging a 'Random Act of Wildness' everyday in June.

2) Does #30dayswild encourage families to get out and about more? 

It does! There is scientific evidence showing that people are happier and healthier when they spend time in nature. The first year of #30DaysWild was actually part of a study with the University of Derby, which monitored the happiness of participants before and after spending 30 days "doing something wild" and we found families were delighted with how much fun they had. Once families spend time in nature, they feel better (and the learning opportunities are limitless). The brain then links nature with feeling happy and the wild, happy cycle continues. The campaign makes it clear that you don't have to spend hours in nature for the happiness to occur, even five minutes makes a difference. If you can't go outside, for whatever reason (illness for example), having plants and even pictures of wilderness helps with mental well-being. 

3) Do you know how many families took part this year and has this increased since last year?

I don't have the exact figures from the latest campaign, but I know that the response is always overwhelming! Family and school packs are in high demand and during the first year, we would run out of these first. How fantastic is that?! Wild parents raising wild babies who will, in turn, do the same for their children. In recent years, we have branched out to include packs for businesses too because we want to help everyone be more wild. The campaign is gaining momentum every year and it's fantastic to see it thriving! Just a quick look at the #30DaysWild hashtag on Instagram will show you the fun people are having.

4) What are your favourite wild activities you like to do with your children?

Today, me and my boy explored lavender fields. It was amazing smelling the flowers and watching the pollinators do their important work. We then went back to the cafe and ate lavender shortbread. Even at the age of 15 months, I talk to him about wildlife. He can say 'flower' 'bee' and says 'bird' when he hears them sing. When he was newborn, on the hard days, I could cope much better by being outside. We used to set up camp under the magnolia tree and everything was so much easier. Now my boy has his own mini watering can and he helps water our flowers and vegetables everyday; it's his favourite thing to do! We feed the birds, watch the bees and draw wild pictures on the patio with chalk. We've recently made a mini pond out of an old sink, and a frog has just moved in. 

On other days, when I'm busy working for example, we may only have time to admire wildflowers as we walk along or read a wildlife book. That's enough to get your wildlife fix on a busy day! It's important to say that you don't need a big garden or to live in the countryside to enjoy wild time. Avon Wildlife Trust is an urban Trust and so much of my work was encouraging the love of city wildlife. It doesn't get much better than seeing a peregrine falcon fly off Bristol Cathedral as I hurried by once. Live in a flat? No problem. Herbs love window boxes. Get your community together and look after a wild space... There's so much you can do. Wild time is for all.

5) Does #30dayswild help wildlife?

Yes. I have been asked this a lot, because some people think encouraging people to love nature is not enough to help wildlife, without solid acts of help, such as planting seeds or volunteering on a nature reserve. Well, of course all acts to help wildlife are incredible and much needed. However, my answer is this. Across the 30 days, it is likely that some of your 'Random Act of Wildness' will directly help wildlife; perhaps saving a tired bee with sugar water or using a reusable bottle to reduce the plastic going into our oceans. Secondly, people will act to save what they love. Spending time in nature makes your love for nature grow. You will then more likely do something to help, whether this is leaving your grass to grow long, signing a petition or donating money to a cause you are passionate about. 

6) What are the benefits of children exploring wildlife outdoors?

I'll let Sir David Attenborough answer this one with this wonderful quote: 
"It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living". 

Children are happier and free in nature. Learning about the natural world gives a wonderful set of skills. Do you know what wild food you can eat? Can you light a fire with a King Alfred's cake? Do you know that the tiny tips of stinging nettles could get rid of your hay fever when made into tea?   I find with my boy, I'm always having to say, when indoors "don't touch that, don't break this". Outside, I say "Go explore".

Here is a fantastic video about children and wild time in America. Yes, it is an advert for Persil. See past that and, if you're like me, it will strike a cord. 

7) What can families do once #30dayswild ends?

At the end of June, stop and think. Look back on what you have done. How did it make you feel?  What did you enjoy most?  Do you think you helped wildlife? How? Why is that important? Once you've answered these questions, it will be clear that you simply carry on! 

If you are able, you make like to join your local Wildlife Trust. They are a national charity but split into 47 regions, so by supporting your local Trust, you are supporting on the ground action for wildlife in your area. Family members get the most wonderful magazines throughout the year too, my boy loves them.

You should see #30DaysWild as a window into how you can lead a happier life with nature on your side. I'd love to see your wild activities all year long. You can keep in touch with me on Instagram by using the #wildchildhappychild hashtag and feel free to follow our wild adventures for ideas. I wish you and your family lots of wild time fun :-

Thank you Jade for being part of our #30dayswild Q&A session! :)

I hope you have all had a really wild June and continue to explore, discover and get out for random acts of wildness each day with your families.

Happy exploring! :)