The last couple of months of the Milton’s Hidden Seashore project have been a bit strange for me, as I have been in the office more than usual. This meant I was extra delighted on Friday to get out to Milton Locks for our Random Acts of Wildness event.
The idea for the event came from the Wildlife Trust’s nationwide challenge to spend at least 30 minutes with/in nature every day in June, namely 30 Days Wild. As Friday was the 1st June, I decided to kick off my 30 Days Wild challenge in style by hosting a drop in event at Milton Locks Nature Reserve. I was aided in this joyful task by Tim Ferrero, the Trust’s Marine Specialist, Natalie Hands from Bird Aware Solent and a team of volunteers with a broad range of skills and expertise. We called the event Random Acts of Wildness because that is exactly what we would like people to partake in each for the duration of the challenge. Whether it is a scientific look at the shore animals, an artistic moment involving clay or simply a chance to walk, sit and absorb the sights, sounds and smells of nature, there really is a way for everyone to enjoy the benefits of discovering their wild side.
Despite some early mist, later clouds and exciting road works on Locksway Road, the event was a huge success and we saw over 60 people across the day, some of whom stayed for several hours. As you may have noticed, one of my favourite things is chatting to people about wildlife and the various activities on offer provided amble opportunity to start conversations. Towards the end of the afternoon, we were treated to a sail past by some members of the Locks Sailing Club, including volunteer, Hilary. We also got to watch the Club’s scheduled race in the water between Milton Locks and Eastney.
Alison Barker, one of our longest serving volunteers, is an entomologist (insect expert) and took away some homework of making a list of all of the species we found on our bug hunt in the grassland that day. When she has finished, I will share the list on this blog as we found some interesting and exciting species. We also also enjoyed learning about the intertidal life with Tim. Highlights included watching cockles bury themselves in the mud and watching crabs, worms and molluscs as they moved around in our trays. We even spotted a tiny anemone.
Safe to say, everyone had a brilliant time and learnt something new. For me personally, the day served as an important reminder. From the moment I arrived at Milton Locks at 8am until I left at about 3:30pm, I was unable to wipe the smile off my face. Spending time with nature genuinely makes me feel fantastic and it is always good to be reminded of the positive influence of nature on my own health and wellbeing. As I was driving home on Friday, I resolved make an extra effort to rise to the challenge of 30 Days Wild. Even when I’m busy and I have a hundred things on my to do list, there is always room for wildlife in my day and I rest assured that wildlife and wild places always have room for me too. Find out more about 30 Days Wild by visiting https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/30DaysWild/Random-Acts-Of-Wildness