How does a company which specialises in environmental consultancy celebrate the Wildlife Trust’s #30 Days Wild challenge? Friends and clients have scratched their heads when we‘ve mentioned it, assuming that wild challenge is what we do daily for a living. There is a difference, though, between the day job and our interest in the natural environment at a personal level. In fact, far from being a ‘busman’s holiday’, the experience of actively taking time to focus on our environment for pure enjoyment has been a revelation.
The #30 Days Wild challenge is to do something “wild” every day for the 30 days of June. The point of Landmark participating is that, as the Wildlife Trusts state, “Making nature part of people’s personal and work life can improve the health and wellbeing of all employees, helping them to get active, be more aware of the world around them, feel more confident, make environmentally-aware decisions and improve creativity.“
We’ve managed to pack a lot of activities into the first three weeks. Admittedly it is easier for some of our colleagues who frequently work outside anyway – our ecologists are pretty ‘wild’ already. They’ve been busy hunting for common spotted orchids (in a torrential downpour) and going out with bat detectors finding a variety of bats, including lesser and greater horseshoes.
Others at Landmark have been busy going wild in their free time. Our colleague Jenny won the first week’s challenge, family camping in Wales and walking the dog in the South Downs National Park, where she was lucky enough to see skylarks (Alauda arvensis) and five-spot burnet moths (Zygaena trifolii). She also went wild swimming in a lake, sharing the water with tadpoles and birds nesting in the reeds.
Bernice and Nick have been birdwatching at Westhay Moor Reserve in Somerset, accompanied by the office dogs (very experienced wildlife watchers). This Somerset Trust Reserve is well worth a visit, with well-marked paths between extensive lakes and wet woodland. It was alive with birds, ranging from marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus), hobby (Falco Subbuteo), noisy cettis warbler (Cettia cetti) and bittern (Botaurus stellaris), reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus), kingfisher (Alcedines) and both little and great white egrets (Egretta garzetta & Ardea alba ) to the more common buzzard (Buteo buteo). It’s not necessary to go to a nature reserve to enjoy rarities however. Travelling along the M4 next to Dinton Pastures Country Park near Reading offers great views of circling red kites (Milvus milvus) and exotic parakeets (Melopsittacus undulates).
We have activities planned in the office and at the end of June we’ll consider who will be crowned as the “wildest” at Landmark. Meanwhile, we would urge anyone else who hasn’t yet taken part to try the #30 Days Wild experience. It needn’t be limited to just this month!