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Nature Explorer and Restorer

When you think about the environment, most people think of trees. But while they are a huge part of it, there’s so much more. All the different plants, fungi, bugs and animals each have an important role to play in the environment, and without any one of them, we’d be in serious trouble! They all support important things like clean air, flood protection and our ability to grow food, so keeping them in balance helps to keep us healthy. Nature is great for our mental health too and research has shown that spending time in the Great Outdoors can help us feel more relaxed, happy and connected.

Want to help the trees, bees and birds, and feel closer to nature? Here’s how to give it a go…grow!

Ever grown a plant from scratch? Herbs are a good one to start with as they’re pretty easy going and don’t take up much space. Have a go at sowing some seeds or pop a ready-grown herby friend on your windowsill where it will get lots of light. It’ll smell lovely and (so long as you remember to water it) one day you’ll be able to use it to cook with. Herbs are very commonly wasted food items that come in lots of packaging from the supermarket, so by growing your own you’re helping reduce waste by snipping only what you need! P.S If you’re buying compost to plant your new pal in, make sure it’s peat-free. It’s *so* much better for the planet!

Have you heard of rewilding? It involves letting things grow by themselves, as they would in the wild. It’s great for the environment as it allows ecosystems to flourish the way they’re meant to, without humans getting involved. If you have a front or back garden, could you leave a few weeds to do their thing or sow a patch of colourful wildflowers? These plants are native to the UK and help provide food for bugs and bees.

Plant trees while you scroll online. How? Install ‘Ecosia’! It’s a search engine just like Google but uses profits to plant trees around the world. Make the switch, benefit the planet every time you look something up and *instantly* feel better about your screen time.

Make an upcycled plant pot. Grab something from your recycling bin (an old tub, a milk carton, a jar) and get creative. You could paint it, wallpaper it or stick things on to decorate it. And of course, when it’s ready, plant something inside it. 

Take a screen break and park your phone in your pocket or bag. Head to your local green space and take notice of the kinds of things you don’t usually see. When was the last time you looked up into a tree canopy? Can you hear any natural sounds? How many different plants can you see? Take a closer look, touch, or smell. Plantlife has some super handy Spotter Sheets to help you identify different wildflowers throughout the seasons. Which ones are growing near you?

Become a litter-picking legend. Rubbish can seriously harm local wildlife. It often ends up washed down drains or goes out to sea, where it pollutes the ocean. Can you get together with family and friends to organise a litter pick, then bin or recycle what you find, to save it causing harm?    

You’ve heard of Airbnb, but what about Bugbnb? Bug hotels are structures you can build to give insects a safe place to live. All you need to do is find an empty toilet roll or old jar, then head outside and find some bits and pieces to fill it up with. Bark, twigs, dried leaves, pinecones and moss are all good. Arrange as many different materials as you can inside your container, leaving little gaps and cracks for bugs. Then put it in a shady spot outside, ready for guests! Want to give it a go? Take a look at this quick video from Chester Zoo.

Feed the birds the good stuff. Did you know bread isn’t the best food to give birds? It’s a lot of carbs, not natural to their environment and can make them really bloated! Oops. They often need help finding food in colder months though: seeds, oats, fruit, nuts and unsalted vegetable fats are all good alternatives. You could even empty half an orange and fill it with some of these ingredients to make a plastic-free bird feeder to hang outside. Check out this easy tutorial.

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