Regular visitors to our blog will know that we have pledged to make 2017 the year we do more to help Wildlife. We all appreciate the benefit of spending time outdoors and connecting with wildlife, both for the health and well-being of ourselves, and our kids, but did you know that nature is fairing far worse in the UK than most other countries?
This is the stark conclusion of the State of Nature Report 2016, an assessment into how nature is fairing across the UK, which draws on the data and expertise provided by more than 50 nature conservation and research organisations, making it the largest collaboration of it's kind in UK conservation.
As well as highlighting that nature is in serious decline across the UK, with 56% of our native species having reduced in numbers over the last 50 years, including 15% that are at risk of extinction, it also demonstrates the positive steps that have, and are being taken, to support our wildlife. You can read more about the biggest influences on our nature, and what you can do as a family to make a difference in our post Make 2017 The Year you help Wildlife.
So this month we have identified 3 ways in which families can spend 1 single hour to make a real difference to our nature, as well as giving them the opportunity to get outside, spend time together, learn, and last, but definitely not least, have fun!
1. Carry out an Earthworm Survey
Earthworm Watch are inviting us all to sign up as Citizen Scientists and survey the earthworms living in our garden or local green spaces. The survey takes under an hour and involves digging two small holes to count earthworms and measure soil properties - you can either download instructions or register for their free pack to be posted to you here.
Once you have completed your survey, simply input your data online and your results will be added to the nationwide scientific study. You can carry out your survey anytime as long as the ground isn't frozen, with Spring and Autumn being the time that earthworms are the most active.
We think this is a brilliant way to spend an hour outside getting our hands dirty on the weekend, whilst learning how to improve soil and earthworm health in your garden or local area.
2. Join The Big Outdoor Bloggers Cleanup
During the week between Friday 20 and Friday 27 January 2017, we will be taking part in the Big Outdoor Bloggers Cleanup. Outdoor Bloggers across the country will all be getting out in their local environment and spending an hour clearing up in support of the Meek Family's Clear Plastic UK Campaign - which aims to remove 100,000 plastic bottles, lids, cups, and straws from our wild spaces, as this is the number of sea mammals killed each year from being trapped in plastic or eating it.
The task is simple. Get yourself outside (the more the merrier) for an hours walk, collecting all the rubbish you see while out, then count the pieces of plastic you have collected and share (with a photo of yourself of course!) on Instagram or Twitter using the campaign hashtag #Refuse4Good and tagging @ClearPlastic_UK. The plastic you have removed from the environment will then be added to the Meek Family's total which currently stands at a whopping 11639 pieces.
3. Take Part in The Big Garden Birdwatch
We love watching and feeding the birds in our garden, so the Big Garden Birdwatch weekend is an activity we are really looking forward to. Taking place over the weekend of the 28th to the 30th January this year, it's another fabulous survey for families to take part in proving yet again that by just giving up a single hour of your time you can be part of something much bigger - The Big Garden Birdwatch is the world's largest wildlife survey with more than 519,000 people all over the UK managing to count an incredible 8,262,662 birds last year!
Originally started in 1979, the results collected over the last 35 years through the Big Garden Birdwatch has allowed scientists to spot trends in bird populations as well as providing a snapshot of bird number across the UK, since 2014 this valuable data collection has expanded to include sightings of other animals in our gardens.
Your can register for a pack to be sent to you, or download one here.