Make space for nature text accompanied by illustrations of a blackbird, ladybird and frog

Eleven ways to make space for nature in your life this autumn

Leugh ann an Gàidhlig / Read in Gaelic

Climate change and nature loss are huge global threats - we’ve already lost nearly 25% of our wildlife in Scotland. But there is hope - if we all take action now.

Looking after nature is good for us, the planet and wildlife. We’ve lots of simple ways to Make Space For Nature in your life - and help reverse nature loss. Take action and follow our top tips to help yourself and nature.

Dor beetle on a pile of leaves

1. Gardening for nature

Allow vegetation to dieback naturally, mow less, and leave twigs and leaves for insects to shelter. Leave seedheads as these can provide a food source for birds and a home for insects.

A tree sparrow chick resting on top of a garden hedge

2. Plant for the future

As the last time to plant before the weather gets too cold, now is your chance to plant bulbs and hedgerow starters ready for the insects and mammals coming out of hibernation in the spring. 

Hedgehog sitting amongst yellow, red and orange autumn leaves

3. Nature based solutions

63% of the total carbon locked in our soil is found in our peatlands - help conserve them by using only peat-free garden products. If you have a compost heap, try not to disturb it often, as many creatures take shelter here. 

4. Help local birds

Erect bird houses and feeders, clean out existing ones and keep feeders regularly topped up. Feeders that attach to windows are a great way to observe local birds, particularly if you don't have a garden or are housebound. If possible try to create a regular feeding schedule, and remember to provide water too. Many garden birdwatchers provide black sunflower seeds, sunflower hearts, quality peanuts, nyjer seed and high-energy seed mixes.

5. Provide water

As well as frogs and toads a pond can attract newts, dragonflies, birds and more. Even using an old washing up bowl of water or a deep saucer of water on a windowsill can help. Add twigs or stones for somewhere insects can rest above water. A prolonged freeze can mean problems for fish and hibernating frogs and newts. Now's a great time to remove debris and float a tennis ball on the surface to prevent it freezing over.

Asian young volunteers carrying new trees in park together Adobe stock for Make Space For Nature campaign

6. Volunteer for nature

A fun way to make a difference, meet new friends and get outdoors. Find out about our volunteering opportunities, or search on the Volunteer Scotland website. Take inspiration from projects helping communities manage their local green spaces or start your own.

A female blackbird (Turdus merula) eating a windfall apple

7. Feed the locals

Overly-soft fruit can be left out for badgers, foxes and birds. Cut the fruit in half and spike it on a tree branch. If there are fruit trees or hedges in your local greenspace, leave the fallen fruit or berries, and watch the local wildlife lap it up. If supply is plentiful try a bit of foraging.

Phone camera screen focused on green leaf plant

8. Make a difference

Submit sightings of birds, butterflies, frogs, plants and much more, or report invasive non-native species. It's really easy and fun for all - plus many surveys can be done via your smart phone. You really can make a difference.
 

Horse chestnut conker and leaves

9. Learn outdoors

Autumn is great for getting outdoors. Try a nature hunt, collect leaves or conkers for artwork, make a bug hotel, or simply look out the window to take in the changing season. Download plant or bird ID apps to help learning.
 

Family walking at Dunardry near Crinan, Argyll and Stirling Area.

10. Go local 

Many of us discovered local walks, paths and parks during lockdown. Greenspaces can be great for taking a breather, walking dogs, enjoying family time, and for outdoor learning. There's plenty of wildlife to see. Stop, listen and enjoy a mindful minute.

Young girl jumping into pile of autumn leaves. ©beckyduncanphotographyltd/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

11. It's good for you

Many of us report health and wellbeing benefits after spending time outdoors. We de-stress, relax and unwind, feel energised and revitalised, and our physical health is improved. By protecting nature, nature protects us.