Ten ways to make space for nature in your life this winter
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. With many of us already spending more time outdoors, it's easy to make space for nature in our lives. Winter is a great season to head out - just wrap up warm and follow our top tips.
1. Feed the locals
Bruised or overly-soft fruit can be left out for badgers, foxes and birds. Cut fruit in half and leave on grass or spike on a tree branch. If cats or dogs are nearby, avoid grapes/dried fruit as this can cause them harm.
2. Enjoy lazy gardening
Leaving areas overgrown or filled with leaves gives insects, amphibians and small animals a quiet and cosy place to hide during colder months. Leave borders/ herbaceous plants intact with seed heads - many insects overwinter in hollow stems.
3. Notice what's nearby
We discovered more local walks during lockdown. There's plenty of wildlife to spot, particularly in urban parks and local paths - from ducks to deer. If feeding ducks, avoid bread and instead try sweetcorn, porridge oats, defrosted frozen peas and bird seed.
4. Volunteer time for nature
One of the best things to do for nature, and have fun along the way, is volunteering. From counting squirrels to building paths and planting trees, there's a huge range of things to do, whilst meeting new friends, gaining work experience and getting outdoors.Take a look at our list of environmental volunteering organisations or search on the Volunteer Scotland website.
5. Help our feathered friends
Erect bird houses and feeders, clean out existing ones and keep feeders topped up. Other animals and insects also use the houses for shelter. Create a regular feeding schedule, and remember to provide water. To attract a range of birds try putting out sunflower hearts, quality peanuts, nyjer seed, and/or high-energy seed mixes. Fat balls are a great energy source during winter.
6. Provide water for wildlife
Garden ponds are a great water source for wildlife but when temperatures drop a prolonged freeze can mean problems for fish and hibernating frogs and newts. Gently crack the ice with a stick to make a hole, or float a ball in the water to stop it freezing. A pond needn't be a large outlay, even using an old washing up bowl of water or a deep saucer of water on a windowsill can help.
7. Keep a lookout
Submit sightings of birds, animals, plants and more, or report any invasive non native species. It's easy and fun - plus many surveys can be done via your smart phone. You really can make a difference.
8. Take action now
Following our tips helps nature, both immediately and in the future. Spending time in nature means you're more likely to care for and respect nature, thereby helping fight nature loss and climate change.
9. Learn outdoors
We all learn outdoors no matter what our age. Spot frosty patterns on leaves and spider webs, download plant or bird ID apps, or simply listen to bird song or really notice in the seasonal changes.
10. Enjoy the benefits
We de-stress, feel energised, and improve our physical health when outdoors. Keep consistent - arrange regular walks with a friend, set a motivational alarm or head out at lunchtime to enjoy daylight.