Reconnect with nature during lockdown with these top tips
• Environmental organisation releases checklist to help people benefit from nature during lockdown
• Hints and tips cater for people in all living situations, from city centre flats to living in the countryside
As we approach the third week of the national lockdown in England, polling for Friends of the Earth shows two in five (43 per cent) are not getting outside into nature as much as they did during the first lockdown, with just one in ten (13 per cent) claiming to be getting out more this Autumn.
Half (49 per cent) didn’t get out into any kind of green or open space during the entire first week of their most recent lockdown – with over a third (36 per cent) not getting out for exercise. One in ten (11 per cent) said they didn’t leave their home at all for seven days running.
The weather is the main reason (55 per cent) deterring Brits from getting outside, with over a quarter (27 per cent) saying they have lost their motivation to get up and go. Busier work schedules are also playing a part (22 per cent), but a fifth (18 per cent) of people are simply lacking inspiration as to what to do in the great outdoors. One in seven (14 per cent) say they’re bored of visiting the same open spaces and nature spots.
Friends of the Earth has compiled a list of hints, tips and ideas to help people make the most of nature during the second lockdown. These are designed to help everyone, from those surrounded by countryside to those living in the middle of a city, to make the most of the health and welfare benefits that come from nature. There are also suggestions included to help people benefit from nature without having to leave their home.
Guy Shrubsole, campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:
“Photos of sunny parks in the first lockdown showed where people wanted to spend their hour outdoors. Now that the nights are drawing in it’s more important, not less, that we say no to Netflix, shrug off the sofa and get outside. While this time we may not be going out to the delights of spring, there are plenty of things that are great about autumn and more than anything, it’s just plain old nice to be outside. Nobody ever felt worse for a dose of nature, and we need it more than ever, just as it needs us. It’s why it’s sometimes called The Natural Health Service.
“And while green space is important to everyone, millions of people lack good quality green space close to home. This is why we’re campaigning for investment at a national level to give everyone across the country access to high quality green space.”
Friends of the Earth’s list of things people can do to reconnect with nature:
1. Identify the bird species migrating for autumn and winter
2. Identify the nearest species of tree to your home, by looking at the bark or leaves
3. Listen for owls calling at night, and find out which owl it is
4. Watch an autumn sunrise/sunset
5. Cloud gaze to see what shapes you can make out, and identify what type they are
6. Put a bird feeder up where you can see the birds from your window
7. Head down a local path you’ve ignored until now
8. Prepare a packed lunch to eat outside instead of staying in
9. Look for 'faces in trees', where the gnarly bark seems to form expressions
10. See if you can find signs of animal tracks, like deer hoof-prints or birds' footprints in muddy puddles
11. Look for signs of insects becoming dormant for winter, like butterfly chrysalises
12. Organise a scavenger hunt for your family and share the results on zoom if you’re distant. This can include nature items such as fallen leaves, twigs, rubbing from tree bark etc
13. Get your children (or other young relatives) to make something out of found natural objects. such as a nature wand or festive wreath
14. Plant something such as tulip bulbs or a magnolia tree for a spring surprise. This could be in your garden, on your balcony, or your windowsill
15. Visit a wood and look for fungi on the forest floor (don't eat them, though!)
Further survey findings:
• More than half of people (52%) would like to spend more time discovering new walks around where they live
• Over a third (36 per cent) are keen to discover new green spaces and nature spots near them
• A quarter (24 per cent) of people say they set out to achieve something but failed to do so during the first lockdown
• A third (31 per cent) were able to spend the first lockdown learning more about nature and almost 1 in 5 (17 per cent) managed to teach their children about nature
• A quarter (27 per cent) went into their latest lockdown promising themselves that they’d use the time to achieve something
• But on the first day more people (41 per cent) stayed in all day than went out and got into nature (24 per cent)
• 7 per cent of people managed to get outside and into nature every day of the first week of their most recent lockdown
Notes to editors
1. About the research: Mortar Research polled 2,012 Britons online from November 13th-16th 2020. The panel was weighted and nationally representative.
2. Find out more about Friends of the Earth’s nature campaign here.
3. Sign Friends of the Earth’s petition asking the government to prevent mass extinction.
4. Friends of the Earth’s nature campaign is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery