Ulster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challenge

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This summer, Ulster Wildlife is encouraging nature lovers across the country to sign up for 30 Days Wild, the free annual month-long nature challenge to do something wild every single day in June.

This year is the 10th anniversary of the challenge, which is run by The Wildlife Trusts, and promises to be a bumper year.

People of all ages and abilities are urged to participate, and everyone who signs up will receive a pack including free herb seeds and an inspirational guide to do one small, wild thing every day during June.

Over the past few years, thousands of people across Northern Ireland have joined in with the challenge, which is supported by a range of famous faces including Monty Don, Liz Bonnin and Dr Amir Khan. Across the whole of the UK the challenge has grown from 12,000 participants in its first year to over half a million last year alone.

Ulster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challengeUlster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challenge
Ulster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challenge

Research has consistently highlighted the positive impact of nature on our well-being, and a study found a significant increase in people's health, happiness, and connection to nature through participating in 30 Days Wild.

People reported feeling more relaxed, reduced stress levels, and a greater motivation to protect wildlife which lasted long after the campaign ended.

Ulster Wildlife hopes to inspire a wave of nature-friendly action across Northern Ireland this June. Some suggested daily actions include:

Add a wildflower patch to your garden. Native wildflowers are amazing for native wildlife, and you could be surprised by the variety of bees, butterflies and other pollinators a wildflower patch can attract. Choose native seeds like ox-eye daisy, red clover, bush vetch and selfheal.

Ulster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challengeUlster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challenge
Ulster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challenge

Get up early and listen out for the dawn chorus. If you want to identify some of the songs you hear, try downloading a bird ID app which can tell you what species you’re listening to. Why not challenge yourself to learn to identify a handful of bird songs by the end of June?

Add a pond or bird bath to your garden. It’s important to help keep wildlife cool throughout the summer, especially in hot spells when water can be hard to come by. A simple bird bath or a pond in a bucket can be a brilliant resource for birds, insects and mammals visiting your garden.

Go stargazing and look out for bats. Spending time in nature during the night can show us a whole new side of our natural world. While you’re looking for constellations, keep an eye out for silhouettes flitting across the sky above you, and listen for the high-pitched sound of bats’ echolocation.

Take your exercise outdoors. Whether it’s a walk, a run, a bike ride, or even yoga under the trees, make time to move in nature this month. Why not use this as an opportunity to discover a new wild place, and seek out a park, nature reserve or beach that’s new to you.

Ulster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challengeUlster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challenge
Ulster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challenge

Ciara Corrigan, digital and marketing officer at Ulster Wildlife, said: “30 Days Wild is a fantastic opportunity for people to find joy in nature and reconnect with the natural world.

“Spending time in nature is proven to be good for us, and it also helps us understand why it’s so important to protect our wildlife and wild places.

“The daily challenges are simple and fun – whether you’re breakfasting to the sound of birdsong, stopping to smell the flowers, or the feeling of grass under your toes, there are countless ways to take a few minutes a day to connect with nature this June.”

Over the past few years, many local residents have described the benefits they’ve felt from taking part in the annual challenge.

Ulster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challengeUlster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challenge
Ulster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challenge

Laura, from Newtownabbey, said that 30 Days Wild inspired her to start a wildflower patch in her front garden two years ago: “It has been fascinating watching it evolve over the last two years. The whole family gets excited by the different flowers we get over the summer and by all the insects we see.”

Several teachers shared their experiences of how 30 Days Wild helped their students connect with nature.

Dwyer, who teaches at a school in Lurgan, said: “The 30 activities were really easy to plan and they allowed the children to spend time in nature doing something simple. The children thoroughly enjoyed every session and it started to make them ask questions about why they were seeing certain things. It totally changed their perspectives of nature, and it gave them more respect for the outdoor environment.”

Another participant, Ann, described how 30 Days Wild helped her find comfort in nature after the loss of her partner.

She said: “I got involved with 30 Days Wild several years ago because I was determined to spend every day outside. I persuaded my partner who did the garden to leave some grass growing long around the edges, and he also built a home for hedgehogs in a bank at the top of his vegetable garden.

“Last year my partner died so the vegetable garden is now my wild garden, with long grass, weeds and nettles, and I love it just the way it is.

Ulster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challengeUlster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challenge
Ulster Wildlife calls on nature lovers across Northern Ireland to sign up for wild June challenge

“I sit outside and listen to all the different sounds and watch the birds teaching the young ones to fly.

“This year I shall spend as many hours as I can in the garden every day in June and I know I will feel so much better at the end of it.”

Sign up and get your free pack at ulsterwildlife.org/30-Days-Wild

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