As a student preparing for my final A level exams in June, I often feel that my studies get in the way of my enjoyment of the great outdoors. This is probably the same for most young people in full time education, as well as anyone else with a full time job or responsibility. I find this a shame, as I certainly know what we’d all rather be doing… However, our occasional disconnection can be combatted with some simple activities that can keep that spark going until our next adventure into the wild.
In year 11, I studied ‘re-wilding’ for my Higher Level Project. Although my written piece was about the re-wilding of land, another interesting concept I came across was re-wilding of ourselves. No- this doesn’t necessarily mean that we ditch the comforts of a house and live fully independently of the mainstream world, but instead regularly reflect upon and make that intrinsic connection which we all have with nature. I’m sure that many people reading this blog are doing so because they already do many activities which bring them close to wildlife, however here are some ideas for keeping that connection during busier and more stressful times (well, exams are coming!):
- Go for a short walk somewhere green; lunch or study breaks provide an opportunity for this. A 10 minute walk somewhere natural can really clear your mind and prepare you for the rest of the day.
- On a more miserable day, seize an opportunity to learn something new about a species in your garden. I recently learned a lot about hedgehogs (see the next blog), and tend to acquire much of my knowledge on UK species during a quick 5 minute browse online or through books.
- Make time to appreciate the wildlife you can see from where you are sitting; look out of a nearby window from time to time and see what birds are flying about, or mammals that you can glimpse at. To make this more interesting, put up a feeder and bring the birds to you!
- If you have more time (and the weather’s good!) sitting beneath a tree or by a river, or really anywhere you can enjoy the peace of nature is a welcome comfort. Somewhere that isn’t too close to a road is also a great place to practise birdsong identification.
This year is a big one for many of us students as we all sit AS, A2 or GCSE exams, however this shouldn’t mean that we put our explorative lifestyle or enjoyment in learning about the natural world around us beside. I hope that everyone is seeing some cool species out and about (make the most of the waxwings whilst they are still here!)!
An exciting event to look forward to for many young birders is the BTO Bird Camp 2017. It appears that some of last years birders are returning, as well as some new faces- I look forward to meeting everyone in May!