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.
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.
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 found natural objects. such as a nature wand
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!)
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.