Connect with nature throughout the year
Every month will have a different theme and we will be promoting resources and activities on this page as well as publicising related projects and events.
Spending quality time with nature can reduce anxiety, balance your mood and help you feel more positive. Take a moment to notice nature in your daily life. You might be surprised by what you see on your daily walk or in your garden.
February’s theme – Wild Cherwell
Wilder neighbourhoods are an essential part of our health and wellbeing and we know that people who spend time in nature are happier and healthier.
Three Wild Projects funded by the Council provide a focus on nature, inviting and inspiring people to value wildlife and do the best thing for the natural environment. Why not get involved?
Big Garden Birdwatch
For those of you that took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of January, don’t forget to enter what you saw on the RSPB website.
We hope you enjoyed it and will continue to enjoy looking out for different birds as winter turns into spring. You can continue to record what you see, here on the Thames Valley Environmental Records website.
February Wildlife Highlights
If you wait until spring has sprung to get outside and connect with nature, you’ll miss out on some incredible wildlife encounters. Look out for these six signs of spring.
With natural nesting sites in decline, adding a nestbox to your garden can make all the difference to your local birds - see how to build a bird box. Always get an adult to help with tools!
Make your garden hedgehog friendly and watch out for visitors. Why not talk to your neighbours about creating a hedgehog hole in your garden fence or build a hedgehog home? Why not create a hedgehog highway like Kidlington?
Do you want to take positive steps for wildlife in your parish?
BBOWT have been empowering and enabling communities to take meaningful action that will improve their local areas for wildlife.
Wild Oxfordshire has lots of resources and guidance to help local communities - how to start a group, funding opportunities to help nature “on your patch” and contact details for those who can help assist with more specific questions.
Five Ways to Wild Wellbeing
Building these five actions into your everyday life can improve your mental and physical health:
- Take notice of the everyday wildness on your doorstep. Then contribute to Nature’s Calendar
- Connect with the people around you, share your wildlife experiences (see 3 Community Gardens section above)
- Learn something new outdoors - read the spotter sheets and nature activities
- Be active - go outside for a walk or explore your local wild places (download the Go Jauntly walking app)
- Give - turn your garden or community space into a haven for wildlife (see Take action for wildlife at home tab)
Take action for wildlife at home
The Berks, Bucks and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
The RSPB gives you ideas for activities and will help you to plan simple tasks ‘perfect for your patch’ whether it is a window box, outdoor space or garden.
The Woodland Trust has gathered some ideas to help you and your family enjoy a summer visit to a wood near you. Woodland Trust woods in Cherwell include:
Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre
You can also share your wildlife sightings with staff at the Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (TVERC) who will add them to their database and make sure your records are used in local-decision making.
Oxfordshire Mammal Group
Find out about a variety of mammals in the County including the hedgehog. In Oxfordshire, hedgehogs (listed as European hedgehog) are widespread but declining and known records can be seen on this County map.
Kirtlington Hedgehog Street
Kirtlington Hedgehog Street is connecting gardens in the village to give hedgehogs enough space to breed and to help keep them off the roads. Why don’t you create a hedgehog street in your local area?
More about hedgehogs
More information about hedgehogs is available from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.