We live in busy times and our demanding lives often mean that we are detached from nature. We go from house to car to office and so on, missing the birds calling, the bees buzzing and even the seasonal colours changing. If you’re not getting enough nature, you’re not alone.
Mother nature is all around us, even in cities the flowers grow, birds fly by and city loving mammals go about their business. As someone who lives in a city, when I make time to be in or around nature, I really appreciate it. I’m lucky as my passion and my job means I make time for it, but I know from talking to others, it doesn’t come so easily.
However, there is hope! Nature is on our doorstep all year round and to access it all you need is your own curiosity and a dollop of patience! It’s well documented that daily contact with nature is linked to better health, mentally and physically, lowering stress levels and reducing obesity. An amazing list of benefits that make it easy for me to make time for nature.
During the week, I predominantly work in an office and it’s fair to say that I spend a lot of my day staring at a screen, but I’ve worked out how and where I can get my ‘nature fix’.
It starts with my cycle to work. This takes me alongside two parks and a stretch of our very own Solent coast. By going this way, I have regularly been treated to sightings of our wonderful winter birds. On my route I have also encountered a green woodpecker, a kingfisher, avocet and just recently I spotted a little grebe with a pair of chicks that were enough to make your heart melt.
Spotting birds can be accessible in lots of environments, but as this makes up my DNA, it is a reflex response! So, I also make a conscious effort to appreciate other flora and fauna, however small or ‘insignificant’. This could be how trees sway in the breeze or how vines wrap around them. It could be the fungi growing in its many forms or even simply how the tides change.
My lunch break is also a time to experience nature, even with all the restrictions an urban environment can bring. I’ve recently found a walk that takes me past a concrete banked stream. Although this is far from the exquisiteness of the Itchen or Hamble rivers, nature has found a way to give it a splash of colour and beauty. My last walk treated me with the sighting of a little egret using its feet as a lure for its next meal and a flock of sociable long-tailed tits bouncing through the branches.
Essentially, it’s not dramatic landscapes, deep dark forests or the sight of a large mammal roaming free that triggers me to be aware of nature. The small, local experiences are the ones that really make me connect with it.
Mother nature performs miracles for us every day. Trees in towns cool us in summer and trap air pollution, bees pollinate our crops, helping to put food on our table and we’re provided with great views and fresh air.
Without diverse nature and a healthy functioning natural environment we’ll be lost, so I urge you go find it!