Noticing Nature More

‘We all want quiet. We all want beauty ... We all need space. Unless we have it, we cannot reach that sense of quiet in which whispers of better things come to us gently.’
Octavia Hill, 1883 Co-founder of the National Trust

This beautiful quote, that resonates today more than ever, inspires me to appreciate some of the good things that are happening today. Being positive, in these dark days, does not in anyway depreciate the horror and trauma that surrounds so many of us, for me it is a natural reaction to maintain my mental health and wellbeing.

A recent report by the National Trust states:

A growing body of evidence points to the positive impacts of nature for people and the personal benefits that people report from being prompted to ‘take notice’ or do things to help nature on a daily basis.

Throughout my childhood, dragged out by my Dad for the statutory Sunday afternoon walk, I was immersed in nature. My Dad loved birds, he loved walking he loved all the elements, wind, rain, sun, mist – he imbued in me a connection with nature I have never lost.

Moving on 50 years and that connection remains, but it had diminished. I sit in front of screen, I get in my car, or on the train, I am immersed in work and travel, that was until 8.30pm on March 23rd when lockdown started.

That day changed everything for everybody in one way or another – good and bad. I wanted to share one really good thing, that happened to me. I started noticing nature more. I slowed down, I made my daily walk last as long as possible so I started really noticing the little things, the flowers to begin with as they unfolded in the warmer weather, who knew how beautiful stitchwort and wood anemones really were until you look close up.

The queen bumblebees emerging, the size, the colour the gorgeousness, of course I love bees but I think I’ve taken them for granted. The Hairy footed flower bee zipping around in the garden. The sheer volume of the bird song – no planes or cars to disguise it. Without the normal cutting regimes of Councils, the verges have begun to be mini nature reserves, they are fragrant and lush and over blown with cow parsley.

Noticing nature more has allowed me to feel grateful during this time of constraint, it allowed me to feel better about myself and more positive about people actively helping nature after this crisis is over. I don’t want us to go back to ‘normal’ I want us to have a ‘new normal’ that makes us aware how valuable, how beautiful, how essential nature is – and Bumblebees in particular!

A final word from the National Trust Report:

Noticing nature in small, everyday ways could lead to radical results. We’ve found that ‘noticing nature’ and ‘nature connectedness’ are strongly linked to people taking conservation action. The influence of these factors is far greater than the influence of ‘time spent outdoors’ or ‘knowledge and study of nature’. People taking conservation action are more likely to be ‘noticing nature’ than they are to be studying it. They’re not necessarily going on big outdoor adventures, but they are enjoying simple moments with the natural world.

Enjoy your moment with nature

Gill Perkins

The National Trust Report can be found here:

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