Take a moment to notice nature and lift your spirits - new book helps people to connect with nature wherever they are
The National Trust has released a new book that encourages people to notice nature on their doorstep.
Every Day Nature includes 365 entries that offer readers inspiration on how to engage with nature and wildlife on their doorstep every day of the year.
As the nation becomes accustomed to spending more time indoors, the book focuses on the rich array that can be seen outside window, in a garden, park, hedgerow or roadside verge.
Andy Beer, author and National Trust nature expert, is passionate about nature and helping others to feel connected to the natural world around them.
His book takes readers on a day-by-day journey through the seasons describing what to look and listen out for - from daisies in gardens and cow parsley along verges to the laughing call of a green woodpecker and the clouds above us.
He says: “Noticing nature can really help lift our spirits. I find a daily dose of nature to be essential for my wellbeing. Actively noticing and taking delight in things can be a great antidote and I would love for others to share in that feeling, which is why I decided to write the book.
“You don’t have to be an expert, know the correct names, have special equipment or, more importantly at this time, you don’t have to travel. Every Day Nature is about finding the joy in what is around you – wherever that may be.”
Andy’s observations for today, Friday 3 April, are all about garlic mustard. He says: “Jack-by-the-hedge is one of the definitive April flowers. It lives up to its name, favouring hedge banks, verges and shady spots. The plants can grow really tall and they have nettle-like leaves. It lights up a spring lane with clusters of four-petalled flowers that give way to long, thin seeds, which are an important food for birds.
“If you pick one and crush it you will get a distinct hit of garlic.”
Having a better connection to nature, is associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety. A recent study carried out by the National Trust and the University of Derby found that nature connectedness and simple everyday acts of noticing nature are linked with higher wellbeing.
The research also found the more people notice nature, the more likely they are to help protect it.
To buy a copy of the book visit www.pavilionbooks.com/book/everyday-nature/
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Picture editor’s notes
Images for use in conjunction with this story can be found in the link below – the images are daisies for 2 April, garlic mustard for 3 April and swallows which are Andy’s highlight for 4 April. Please credit images as indicated.
The National Trust Noticing Nature research, undertaken with the University of Derby, revealed that nature connectedness and simple everyday acts of noticing nature are linked with higher wellbeing:
- The most nature connected adults (the top 25 per cent) felt that the things they do in their life were more worthwhile (19 per cent higher than the rest of the population)
- The most nature connected adults reported higher levels of happiness (15 per cent more than the rest of the population)
- Nature connectedness is associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety.
For children we found that they were more likely to report feeling happy if they:
- Had a higher level of nature connectedness
- Engaged in meaningful activities linked to nature such as writing songs or poetry about nature or celebrating natural events
- Relaxed in nature (e.g. sitting and relaxing in a garden).
For more information and to download a copy of the report, visit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/get-connected-to-nature
The author, Andy Beer
Andy Beer’s formative memories of his childhood were spent exploring the insides of overgrown hawthorn hedgerows in the fields across the road, trying to catch speckled wood butterflies and sitting on gates listening to yellowhammers.
After working on the Woodland Trust’s millennium woods project for ten years, he joined the National Trust and was involved with developing a nature campaign called 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾. He is now the Director of the Midlands for the National Trust, responsible for the land and buildings held by the National Trust from the Welsh border to the Lincolnshire coast – his job is not just to look after these places, but to make them as rich in nature and locally loved as possible.
Excerpt from Every Day Nature – April
April has always been marked for arrivals and rebirth. The days are edged with song: a chorus of new birds as the dawn appears and a sunset reprise of thrush and blackbird song from rooftops and trees. Nestlings hath and take wing. Each day a new insect appears on flowers. Butterflies sketch yellow – and orange – tipped paths across the scene. Parks and lawns are candied with daisies and decked with dandelions. It feels as though spring is rushing to delight. Each day there is something new to note and something not to miss.’