Get Active: volunteer, experience, connect with the natural world

 


Get Active: volunteer, experience, connect with the natural world and put animal magic into your life! 

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  1.  

    The Mating Game kicks off on BBC1 tonight with scenes of courting and companionship (Sunday 3rd October 2021) and Sir David Attenborough narrates.   A species very survival depends on them being able to breed, so this is a critical topic.

    As many species are threatened by habitat loss, poaching, a lack of food and water, pollution and climate change, it is essential that species can reproduce.  This is harder for some animals than others – you’ll see that amongst the episode there’s one called Against All Odds. 

    There are five episodes covering:

    1. Grasslands (that’s on Sunday 3rd October)
    2. Oceans
    3. Jungles
    4. Freshwater
    5. Against All Odds – this one features animals who really have the odds stacked against them so they have had to develop extraordinary strategies to breed and survive

    The programme comes to us from the makers of A Perfect Planet.  Here’s its website – there are some truly stunning videos and photographs so do take a look.

     

    Check out the calendars featuring baby animals for 2022 from the CalendarClub.co.uk
    Check out the calendars featuring baby animals for 2022
    from the CalendarClub.co.uk

     

  2.  

    Don’t miss:  BBC2 on Saturday 18 September 2021 at 8:00pm.

    Natural World are focusing on giraffes, and in particular the work of conservationist Dr Julian Fennessy who aims to round up 20 giraffes – the world’s rarest – and take them across the huge Nile River.

    The programme is from 2016-2017 but is well worth a watch, and the BBC has clips you can see on their website.

    Dr Fennessy is the Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.  The charity say that giraffe numbers have declined by almost 30% in just over 30 years; there are now about 117,000 in the wild

    The Foundation includes 19 people from 16 countries and 4 continents, all striving to help secure the giraffe a future. 

    And it has a new initiative to increase giraffe field conservation and management actions right across Africa!  It’s called the Giraffe Action Fund and it identifies and supports field conservation campaigns and actions which protect and promote giraffe conservation.

    For example, it helps action to

    • Increase giraffe numbers, distribution and habitat
    • Tackle anti-poaching
    • Help with conservation education and awareness to safe giraffe and minimise the largest threats

    And on social media, you can #StandTallforGiraffe

    You can also donate to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, adopt a giraffe (perhaps as  a gift to yourself or a giraffe lover) or shop at their online shop, to help the Foundation continue their work.

    Visit the Giraffe Conservation Foundation’s website here

    Edinburgh Zoo Entry and One Night Stay in a Giraffe Suite for Two at Hotel Indigo Edinburgh

    Edinburgh Zoo Entry and One Night Stay in a Giraffe Suite for Two at Hotel Indigo Edinburgh, available from Red Letter Days
    Get 15% off with the code AHW2021RED, valid until 31 Dec 2021

     


  3. Did you know that
    Kind Clothing have some animal-related t-shirts and sweatshirts?   Their products are kind to the planet and to animals, being made of organic cotton and recycled materials.

    They've got t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, vests and joggers, so lots to choose from and also they have some with an animal theme!

    Big Cats (Tigers) Organic Cotton T-Shirt

    Big Cats (Tigers) Organic Cotton T-Shirt
    £24.00

    Save The Chubby Unicorns - Organic Cotton T-Shirt

    Save The Chubby Unicorns - Organic Cotton T-Shirt
    £24.00

    Bee Kind Organic Cotton T-Shirt

    Bee Kind Organic Cotton T-Shirt
    £24.00

    As well as being eco-friendly, each purchase plants a tree so it helps the planet even more! 

    Visit Kind Clothing's website here

  4. It’s back!

    All Creatures Great and Small is back for another series, starting on Thursday 16 September at 9pm on Channel 5 J

    Set in the stunning of Yorkshire, in the beautiful Dales, the series is about the vet, James Herriot.  As a newly qualified vet played by Nicholas Ralph, he takes up a post working for Siegfried Farnon (played by Samuel West). 

    Farnon can’t take pet seriously at all – he says that dogs need to work. 

    And when a dog causes trouble with a neighbour’s sheep, there are consequences for James. 

    He also has to think about whether he stay in the Dales…. Or head back to Glasgow.

    This is a wonderful series with a cosy feeling, a warmth and an insight into social history and life in the Dales. 



    Getting into Veterinary School from Amazon (published April 2021)



    So you want to be a vet? from Amazon  (published November 2015)

  5. This June is a very busy month for the Wildlife Trusts – and there’s plenty to get involved with, wherever you live!

    Wildlife Trusts are all over the UK, and they’re busy standing up and protecting wildlife and wild places in your area.  They connect people to nature, restore diverse wild places and look after nature reserves; and they inspire people to take action for wildlife.  Find your local Wildlife Trust here.

    The more we can all appreciate nature and the beauty of it, and its importance in our lives, the more likely we are to want to look after it and protect it.

    It’s 30 Days Wild all month.

    Sign up for 30 Days Wild here

    The Wildlife Trusts are challenging us all to do something WILD every day!   That will be 30 fun, exciting Random Acts of Wildness.

    There’s a free pack of goodies to help you plan your month, and your Wildlife Trust have lots of ideas to help.  You’ll get emails too from your Wildlife Trust, and a chance to get involved on social media.

    The first thing to do is to sign up and get your FREE 30 Days Wild Pack.  It’s got a wallchart, a poster, an interactive booklet and some stickers to help you GO WILD!

    You need to select who is taking part:

    • Me and my Family
    • My class/school
    • My workplace
    • My care home

    SIGN UP FOR 30 DAYS WILD HERE

     

     

  6. This year, Mental Health Awareness Week focuses on connecting with Nature.

    There are many benefits of having contact with nature, whether you spend time in the garden looking at the sky or growing flowers and planting vegetables, or go on a walk through woods or up hills, or have a weekend glamping  or forest bathing!

    Do some Mindfulness Meditation in Nature for Two in Kent
    Do some Mindfulness Meditation for two in Kent, from BuyaGift
    Use the code 15AHW2021 and get 15% off!**
    Plus we will make a donation to the Woodland Trust  


    Spending time with nature can have many benefits:

    1. You can meet other people especially if you volunteer for a conservation charity
    2. You can improve your physical health by going on walks or being physically active through gardening
    3. Volunteering for a nature charity can really give you a feel-good feeling – you’ve made a difference and can meet like-minded people who want to do the same
    4. You could end up going where people don’t always go – sort of getting behind the scenes with nature!

      Enjoy a Two Night Break in The Nest Tree House, Devon
      Enjoy a Two Night Break in The Nest Tree House, Devon, from Red Letter Days
      Use the code AHW2021RED and get 15% off!** Plus we will make a  donation to the Woodland Trust  


    5. There are some amazing nature experiences you can enjoy
    6. Nature can help you reduce stress  and help you relax
    7. Nature can help you escape from everyday life – you really can get away from it all
    8. You could do an activity that you don’t normally do, such as forest bathing or walking with an alpaca or llama!


      Lucky Tails Alpaca Farm Entry with Alpaca Walk for Two Adults and Two Children

      Lucky Tails Alpaca Farm Entry with Alpaca Walk
      for Two Adults and Two Children from BuyaGift
      Use the code 15AHW2021 and get 15% off!**
      Plus we will make a donation to the Woodland Trust  

    9. You can see some amazing wildlife.
    10. You can also enjoy nature on the water, so to speak, with some time on a boat!
    11. You can combine being social, having exercise, getting fresh air, helping nature and escaping from the day’s routine all in one go!


      Go Forest Bathing in Sussex
      Go Forest Bathing in Sussex
      Use the code AHW2021RED and get 15% off!** Plus we will make a donation to the Woodland Trust  

    12. Enjoy a holiday with nature at its heart – you could go glamping in the UK or spend time on a farm in Devon!


      Go stargazing in Wales
      Go stargazing in Wales!
      Use the code AHW2021RED and get 15% off!** Plus we will make a donation to the Woodland Trust   

    13. Look up at the sky!  Spend an hour stargazing and be in awe of the beautiful stars in the sky. 
    14. You can exercise your senses if you listen to the sounds of nature, look closely at its colours and detail, smell the scent of nature, taste vegetables and fruit and hug a tree! 

     Enjoy the natural world and improve your wellbeing!  


    Buy an experience from Red Letter Days or Buy A Gift
    and we will make a donation to the Woodland Trust!


    **Codes are valid until 31 December 2021.  Non-discounted products do not apply  apart from that, the codes are site wide!

  7. Those lovely folk Garden Wildlife Direct are dedicated to making caring for wildlife an affordable interest for everyone.

    They've got a big selection of foods, feeders and habitats at great prices, so they are particularly great if you are just starting out on feeding our feathered friends. 

    They've got straight, seed mixed and suet foods; as well as a range of accessories and wildlife related products that will be sure to bring any garden to life.

    Starting out...keep it simple

    Now before I go any further, I will say that when we started out on feeding our feathered friends, we didn't make all this complicated at all.  (I don't do complicated.)  

    We just gave our birds wild bird seed to start with, and now we've added fat balls (which they love) and peanuts.   Oh, and they've got a couple of bird baths dotted about the garden.  Nothing grand, nothing fancy, but they absolutely love it!

    Keep your birds cool and hydrated this summer

     

    From feathered friends to hedgehogs...

    Our German Shepherd (who sadly is no longer with us) brought us a hedgehog one night.   His find inspired us, and so within 48 hours, we'd installed a hedgehog house (we call it the Hedgehog Hilton), a water bowl (the Hedgehog Bar, please note you just need to give them water, not milk) and now we've put in a very small pond with slopes so that the wildlife can get out easily.  We call it the Hedgehog Leisure Centre.  

    So fly off here and take a look at Garden Wildlife Direct.  They often have weekend offers, but they have lots of offers around the week.   

    Keep your bird food fresh!


    The Joy of Helping our Garden Birds

    We get lots of pleasure from watching our feathered friends in the garden - it's like having your own nature show but you can get away from the ipad, TV, laptop, computer, phone etc etc etc - and just enjoy watching them out of the window.  Our garden isn't big, you don't need acres and acres to look after our feathered friends.   Only this morning, I woke up and lay in bed listening to the tweet, tweet, tweet out of the window.  It was lovely - the birds sounded so cheerful!

    Our knowledge of which bird is which has improved a lot, and I've started to draw birds from a bird book I bought as a little hobby.   Some of the birds are even starting to look like birds, somewhat to my amazement. 

    Get feeding them and happy birdwatching!   

    Tweet tweet for now!  Keep well and safe xx

     

  8.  

    International Dawn Chorus Day is on Sunday 2 May 2021 

    I woke up at 4:30 this morning and lay in bed listening to the birds as they sang outside the bedroom window and thought how wonderful it must be to have such a glorious chorus every day to be so happy! 

    Listening to birdsong is a great way to start the day!

    In fact, I’ve been waking up a lot recently at about 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning, and I find I just love lying in bed, listening to the birdsong.  It’s such a lovely start to the day!   OK, sometimes I do drift off back to sleep, but the birdsong is both soothing and motivating at the same time – I let my mood take me where it feels.  It’s a wonderful way to empty your head of everything and just listen to our feathered friends.  I find it very therapeutic.

    Sunday 2 May is International Dawn Chorus Day

    Anyway, the first Sunday of May (the 2nd May in 2021) is International Dawn Chorus Day.  Would you believe that the event started out in the 1980s in Birmingham and now, people in over 80 countries take part!

    It’s a worldwide celebration of the dawn chorus and people all over the world will be waking up in time to put the kettle on and just listen to our beautiful birds, whilst sipping a cup of tea, or perhaps they’ll just lie in bed and listen.

    Take part – just listen to birdsong!

    All you have to do to take part is listen!  Who might you hear? The song thrush, the blackbird, or robin or blackcap or chiffchaff?  

    The Wildlife Trusts have lots of birdsong on their website to help you identify who you’re listening to.  You could hear the song beforehand so that you can work out which bird is singing which song as you’re lying in bed, or you could listen to it afterwards to try to identify which bird you heard.

    Fly off here to the Wildlife Trusts’ website to hear some great birdsong!

    Peckish Complete Seed and Nut Mix No Mess from Garden Wildlife Direct
    Peckish Complete Seed and Nut Mix No Mess
    from Garden Wildlife Direct

     

  9. May is normally Walk in the Woods month.

    It’s organised by the Tree Council, and it’s a time when people across the country get out into the woods, walk in a local park or simply appreciate a street lined with trees.

    But of course this year, things are different. 

    Knowing that time in nature has never been so important to our wellbeing, and that nature can be found everywhere, the Tree Council are making this May “Walk Where You May” month.

    Here’s how to get involved:

    1. Visit and appreciate one tree on your daily exercise – this could include a hedgerow, a street tree, the trees in your local park or woodland.
    2. Share it in a tweet, a photo or video using #WalkWhereYouMay to inspire others and share nature with others.
    3. Tag three followers to encourage them to take part as well!

    Instead of "Walk in the Woods" Month, in 2021 the Tree Council is having "Walk Where You May" Month

    The Tree Council emphasise that we must all observe the latest government social distancing guidelines, even if/when lockdown starts to ease.  #WalkWhereYouMay is subject to change based on the government health guidelines.

    As they point out, not all green spaces are open at the moment so check before you go and don’t travel by transport to visit green spaces.  Go on foot to visit your tree.

    Wild Your Garden
    Wild Your Garden, 
    A practical guide to rewilding your outdoor space
    from the National Trust Online Shop


    By the way, the Tree Council are always looking for Tree Wardens!   A tree warden is a volunteer who plants, looks after and stands up for trees in their patch!  It's a great way to get your hands in the earth and plant trees, to raise awareness in your local community and be the eyes, ears and voice for the trees in your street!

    Visit the Tree Council here.

    PS Watch out for National Hedgerow Week from 29 May to 6 June 2021! 

  10.  The 24th April is Save the Frogs Day.

    It’s a chance to raise awareness of the plight of frogs around the world and also to show ways in which you can help frogs and toads!

    The charity Froglife.org.uk has lots of ways you can help frogs and toads, as does the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, so here are some of these ways:

    Become a toad patroller!

    A Toad Patrol is a group of volunteers who monitor a stretch of road that toads have to cross to reach their breeding pond in the spring. 

    Join the Wildlife Tunnel Campaign

    Wildlife Tunnels are tunnels built under our roads so that amphibians and reptiles can cross the roads safely.  They are invaluable in linking up important wildlife habitats and lessening the negative impacts our demands for infrastructure are having on British wildlife.  Join Froglife's campaign for Wildlife Tunnels. 

    Join Froglife's campagin for Wildlife Trunnels - please sign their petition
    Please sign Froglife's petition for Wildlife Tunnels


    Build a wildlife pond!

    It doesn’t need to be enormous or complicated – take a look at this PDF from Froglife!  Ponds are really important to wildlife – and it’s estimated that over a third of ponds have vanished in the last 30 years or so which has had a terrible effect on wildlife and especially amphibians.   Frogs, toads and needs need ponds to breed – so if there are no ponds, there will be no frogs, toads and newts.  And there’s nothing like enjoying the sight of your pond, however big or small it is.

    Here are some more wildlife gardening ideas to help frogs and toads

    Treat yourself to an animal experience!

    Buy an animal experience from BuyaGift.co.uk
    and get 15% off** with the code 15AHW2021.   
    Plus we'll make a donation to Froglife!

    Become a friend of Froglife

    From £18 a year, become a friend of Froglife and help them conserve frogs and toads!

    Go wildlife spotting and record your sightings!

    When you’re out and about, spot wildlife and let Froglife know what you’ve seen!  Froglife has the Dragon Finder App – a free app for Android and iPhone, with a mobile website version for other devices. You can identify amphibians and reptiles in the field and record what you see by letting Froglife know about your sightings whilst you’re out and about.  They’ve got an online free guide to the sorts of animals you might see here.

    Take part in Garden Dragon Watch 2021

    The information collected will help the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust find out more about the reptiles and amphibians we all find in our gardens, and the habitats that they like.  In turn, this will help ARC with its conservation work.  

    Volunteer for ARC!

    Volunteer for the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust  - they have many reserves around the UK and it’s a great way to get out and about and to meet like-minded people whilst helping conservation at the same time!  Help on their nature reserves or on specific projects.

    Treat yourself to an animal experience!

    Buy an animal experience from BuyaGift.co.uk
    and get 15% off** with the code 15AHW2021.   
    Plus we'll make a donation to Froglife!

    Sponsor one of ARC’s appeals

    There are a number, such as sponsoring an adder or a smooth snake or a natterjack toad or a pool frog and more!

    Visit Froglife

    Visit the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust

    ** This code is valid until 31 December 2021 and does not include non-discounted products