Park Ranger Matt helps us appreciate nature

It’s fantastic that the environment has been thriving as we’ve all been confined to our own homes, gardens and surrounding areas for work, leisure and exercise. We’ve seen amazing fish return to the canals of Venice and air pollution levels have plummeted. Whether it’s half an hour sitting in the sunshine in our gardens or the daily walk along a nearby river nature is also becoming a much-appreciated sanctuary from the repetitiveness of our own homes. 

We’ve been chatting to local Nottingham City Council Park Ranger, Matt all about how we can appreciate our own little areas of nature a little bit more during lockdown period. 

1. Improve your gardening skills
“This time of year is perfect for planting seeds”, says Matt. Gardener’s World recommends that you can sow dill which is fantastic to eat with fish. It’s also the last month of the year that you can sow Cornflowers which can add a beautiful blue hue to your garden. Brightly coloured Sunflowers and Zinnias can also be planted in May.

Matt continues; “This is also a great time to tidy up your outdoor space in general, give garden tools a clean, refresh furniture and paint fences ready for the summer months – that’s what I’ve been doing in my downtime.”

2. Appreciate the birds
Unless you’re an avid bird watcher usually you may not be used to seeing different types of birds throughout your day but there are lots of birds to spot whilst you’re out for your daily walk or cycle. “Robins, blackbirds and wood pigeons should be easy enough to spot on your daily walk and even hedge sparrows if you’re lucky!” says Matt. Another great idea is to build a bird box or pop a bird feeder outside of a window to bring the wildlife straight to your door for you to watch. 

“It’s also nesting season so birds are out collecting materials to build their nests. If you have a really fluffy pet then if you leave clumps of their hair in trees or around your gardens birds will come and pick it up to use it to create their habitats!” 


3. Find local walks
Getting out and about doesn’t have to mean a drive out to the countryside, exploring your local woodlands, riversides and fields can be lovely as long as there are public foot paths. Get out and about for your hour’s exercise and see what new places you can discover on foot or on your bike. See how many different wildlife you can spot from ducks and their ducklings to our other birds above!

4. Hunt mini-beasts with the kids
Check out Ranger Matt on the Story Parks website and his guide on how to conduct a mini-beast hunt in your own garden with the kids. You can find worms, ladybirds, spiders, woodlice and so much more.

5. Grow your own 
Along the same lines as sowing seeds, planting your own fruit and vegetables might be high on your list of skills to learn. Matt recommends planting old potatoes that you’ve forgotten about that have started sprouting into the ground again as you can grow even more potatoes from them. It’s also a good time to plant small vegetables like chillies, tomatoes and cucumbers if you have a green house or a sunny windowsill. Larger vegetables like cabbages, cauliflowers, sprouts and broccoli can also be planted in May but get sprouts in quickly in order to serve them up on Christmas Day! 

There we have five ideas to get closer to nature during lockdown! Read more about what a Park Ranger gets up to in a day in the life here.

close to nature

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