People who do something ‘wild’ every day for a month change their attitude to nature and report improvements in their physical and mental wellbeing, according to new research, which places nature connection at the heart of a happy and healthy life.
An impact study, by the University of Derby, of 30 Days Wild – the UK’s first ever month-long nature challenge, which was run by The Wildlife Trusts in June 2015 – reveals sustained increases in participants’ happiness, health, connection to nature and positive environmental behaviours, such as feeding the birds or growing flowers for pollinators like bees.
Dr Miles Richardson, Head of Psychology at the University of Derby, conducted the study. He says: “Two months after taking part in 30 Days Wild, the number of people reporting their health as excellent increased by over 30%. And that improvement in health was predicted by the improvement in happiness and connection with nature. The impact of 30 Days Wild adds to the compelling argument for bringing nature into our everyday lives. Our grand challenges, such as health and declining biodiversity, require large-scale interventions and the evaluation of 30 Days Wildprovides good evidence that time in, and a connection with nature can bring sustained benefits to public health, reducing demands on our health services, while also improving pro-nature behaviours. Even in urban areas, nature can provide a simple solution to complex problems.”
More than 18,500 people took part in The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild challenge, committing around 300,000 Random Acts of Wildness – different ways to connect with, experience and take action for nature – throughout June 2015.
Simon Nash, CEO, Somerset Wildlife Trust comments, “The results of the study are very clear – being closer to nature and making time in their day for nature makes people happier, healthier and more connected to nature in the long-term. It also showed that by raising our awareness to nature, people became more inclined to protect it – and that’s what we’re all about. We’re here to inspire everyone again – every day throughout June. Whatever your age, wherever you live, we want everyone to feel they can take part and join thousands of others making nature part of their life. Whether it’s cutting through the park to get to work instead of using the road, hunting for bugs with the kids, putting up a bird box in the garden or planting some wildlflowers for the birds and the bees, every little thing we do as individuals delivers impact on a larger scale – for us and for wildlife. ”
30 Days Wild returns in 2016 and Somerset Wildlife Trust is asking everyone do something wild every day from 1 – 30 June. Sign up fromWednesday 6 April 2016 at www.wildlifetrusts.org/30DaysWild