Ten ways to make space for nature in your life this spring
Leugh ann an Gàidhlig / Read in Gaelic
We’ve already lost nearly 25% of our wildlife in Scotland, but more than half of us want to do more to help nature. Spring is a wonderful season to put these intentions into action and build appreciation of the natural world into daily life.
Taking collective action will help reverse nature loss and fight climate change, ensuring a healthier and greener Scotland. Tune into our podcast series for more ways to Make Space For Nature.
1. Help our feathered friends
Birds are busy building the perfect homes for their chicks. Help them out by leaving natural nest-building debris such as twigs and moss lying around, and not pruning bushes containing nests. You may have space for bird feeders and a bird nest box. Once you have birds in your nest boxes, it's important not to disturb them.
2. Go peat-free
Digging up peat to use in a garden destroys wildlife and releases carbon into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change and increasing flooding in areas where it's dug up. Help conserve Scotland’s most vital carbon store by using peat-free garden products. Simply check packets to ensure they're peat-free.
3. Keep it natural
If you have a garden leave some areas wild, and hold off cutting grass until late spring, after the dandelions have flowered but before they set seed. Help alleviate flooding by avoiding artificial grass, paving or decking. Reduce hosepipe use - capture and store rainwater in water butts to ensure a sufficient water supply. Potted plants and window boxes are a great addition if no garden is available.
4. Value the health benefits
Many of us report health and wellbeing benefits after being outdoors. We de-stress, unwind, feel energised, and our physical health is improved. Try and take time for a daily walk, cycle or outdoor mindful minute. For inspiration, sit back and enjoy this dawn chorus mindful minute filmed during the spring. Healthy people need healthy nature.
5. Plant for pollinators
Spring can be tricky for insects, particularly those emerging from hibernation. Aim to have a range of pollinator-friendly plants flowering in your garden from March onwards. The beauty of emerging flowers is a classic sign that winter is finally over, providing a welcome boost to our spirits, and a vital food source for many of our pollinators.
6. Give some time
One of the best things to do for nature is volunteering. From counting squirrels to planting trees, there are many ways to help while meeting new friends, gaining work experience and getting outdoors. Volunteer with NatureScot, see our list of environmental volunteering organisations or visit Volunteer Scotland.
7. Be part of something
Submit sightings of birds, mammals, amphibians, insects, plants and more, or report any invasive non-native species. It's really easy and fun - plus many surveys can be done via a mobile phone. The iRecord website and app is easy to use and collects everyday wildlife sightings, so they can be checked by experts to support research.
8. Keep learning outdoors
We all learn outdoors no matter what our age. Try a nature hunt, spot the fern unfurling, snowdrops or flower buds appearing, download bird or plant ID apps or simply listen to the bird song, look out a window and take in the seasonal changes. Our learning resources are full of information and suitable for everyone.
9. Provide water for wildlife
Frogs, toads and newts all wake-up from hibernation in the spring to search for homes and mates, and they thrive in garden ponds. As well as amphibians, a pond can attract insects such as dragonflies, birds and many more species, for drinking, resting and bathing. If a pond isn't possible, even using an old washing up bowl of water or a deep saucer of water on a windowsill can help.
10. Feed the locals
Keep feeders regularly topped up and remember to provide water too. To attract a range of garden birds try putting out seed mixes, sunflower hearts, meal worms, soft apples and pears, and even mild grated cheese. Avoid bread, and at this time of year stay away from offering peanuts and fat as these can be a choking hazard, potentially causing harm if adult birds feed them to their young.