I’m writing this on day 12 of my own personal Covid-19 isolation. I’m informed my medication will make me vulnerable to the virus as it reduces my immune system, and though I’m told I need to isolate for 90 days, its likely to be a lot longer! Once the infection rate is reduced, I will still need to isolate to a degree, until the virus is brought under control and understood.
So, in this shared experience I thought I’d try and set you an alphabetical nature challenge, to occupy some of your time. If you are able to get out into your garden, local community for your daily exercise, or just looking out of the window, try and be aware of the nature you can see and discover.
Each day pick a letter and use that to engage and occupy yourself with nature for a while.
A = Awareness. Become aware of the nature around you.
B = Behind. Notice the nature that may be behind your shrubs and trees, or behind the plant on your windowsill.
C = Call. Become aware of the bird calls in your local area. Don’t worry about identification, just enjoy the sound.
D = Do. Get you hands into nature by doing some weeding and remove dead leaves from your house plants. Nature is about touching it, not just seeing it.
E = Everywhere. Nature is everywhere, if we care to look.
F = Fly away. Look up to the sky and imagine for a while what it would be like to fly like a bird. See the world from above, the bigger picture.
G = Goldfinch. See if you can spot these lovely little birds. 30 years ago, it was a challenge, but these days they are more abundant.
H = Hear. Often, we just hear the birds when out in nature. What other natural sounds can be heard though?
I = Ignore. Ignore that inner voice that can offer up a negative narrative during times of crisis. Focus on the nature around you and know this won’t last forever.
J = Joy. Take energy from the joy the tree’s, wind, birds and sky offers.
K = Kite. In Oxfordshire, Red Kite’s are now a common sight. Look up, see if you can spot one.
L = Ladybird. Can you see any ladybirds? An absorbing pastime as they are often tucked away.
M = Mauve. Colour is a big thing out in nature, so try and find things that are Mauve.
N = Numbers. What’s your favourite bird species? How many other species can you see? The number of species can often be astounding.
O = Observe. Observe patterns of behaviour and habits going on out in nature.
P = Photography. Try and take a picture of the nature around you, that in itself wakes us up to what we’ve not noticed before.
Q = Question. Find something out in nature that interests you, then question how much you really know about it. Try researching it and finding out something new about what interests you.
R = Relax. During the isolation we need to relax, use all your senses to use the nature around you to relax.
S = Starling. Starling’s aren’t as common in gardens as they once were. They are great mimics though, so have a listen to their calls.
T = Try. It can be demoralising having our lives impacted on by Covid-19, but keep trying to get through. Try and find one new thing in the nature around you that you’ve never seen before.
U = Unsure. Many people are unsure what the nature is that around them. Don’t let that impact on your appreciation of it. We don’t need to know what everything is all the time.
V = Value. Value everything out in nature, it all plays its part.
W = Weather. Enjoy the weather, whatever it is.
X = Xplore. Explore the nature you can see, hear, touch and smell etc.
Y = Yellow. Try and spot how may yellows you can see at this time.
Z = Zoom. Zoom in and have a close look at all the nature around you.
You may have other words to focus on for each letter, but you get the idea.
Wildlife Gardening Specialist