Connecting with nature

We are encouraging people to connect with nature throughout the year by establishing a Wild Communities Calendar.

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. Please join in and let us know what you’ve been doing to connect with nature and help wildlife.

May's theme: Mindful May

Nature is the theme of this year’s Mental Health Foundation’s Awareness Week.

Spending quality time with nature can reduce stress, 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. 

Birds

Watch and listen closely to the birds.

Identify a bird

Bird song identifier

Hedgehogs

Make your garden hedgehog friendly and watch out for visitors. Create a hedgehog hole in your garden fence and/or build a hedgehog home.

Build a hedgehog home

Hedgehog Awareness Week is 2 to 8 May 2021. Find out more how you can get involved. 

Hedgehog Awareness Week

Swifts

Look out for swifts as they arrive back in Britain from Africa at the beginning of May. For more information see our Swift Conservation tab below.


Taking action for wildlife at home

There are plenty of ways to take action for wildlife at home. The Berks, Bucks and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), the Woodland Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) are sharing lots of great resources to help keep individuals and families active and engaged with nature.

BBOWT tells you how to help wildlife in your garden including how to:

  • build a nesting box for birds
  • plant flowers for bees and pollinators
  • build a hedgehog home and create a hedgehog hole.

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 discover nature on your doorstep during lockdown and over the coming months.

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.


Swift conservation

Swifts will be arriving back in Britain from Africa at the beginning of May. Quite possibly there will be some nesting near where you live. You may see them when out walking flying low over roof-tops or making screaming calls as they pass. No other British bird behaves like this. It’s an indication there are nest sites nearby. You might even be lucky enough to spot one returning to its nest hole under the eaves of a building.

Nesting swifts

You can see nesting swifts on the Sibfords nestbox webcams.

View nests

Swift study

The population of Swifts is nearly 60% lower than it was 25 years ago. They need all the help we can provide. Having these records can help the Cherwell swift conservation project by increasing knowledge of local populations, enabling the protection of nest sites and the lobbying for new ones in new buildings. Please send any records of birds at nests, screaming parties and low-flying Swifts to Chris Mason, the co-ordinator of the Cherwell swift conservation project.

Contact Chris


Wild Bicester

Our plan coincides with a new project being launched in Bicester, promoting biodiversity, health and wellbeing.

Wild Bicester is based on a similar model developed to Wild Banbury by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), with the support of Banbury Town Council and Cherwell District Council, encouraging residents to take part in projects to protect and improve the wildlife in their local area.

The scheme is co-funded by Healthy Bicester, Bicester Garden Town and the council’s wellbeing team, due to the importance the project places on developing sociable healthy neighbourhoods while enhancing the natural environment of the town.

Wild Bicester has already formed early relationships with environmental groups in the town, including Langford Community Orchard and Bicester Green Gym, using their experience and expertise to help lay the foundations of the programme.


K5 Better Together

K5 Better Together is the wellbeing programme developed by Cherwell District Council in partnership with community groups, businesses and charities in and around Kidlington. Community garden projects are being developed in two of Kidlington’s green spaces by Harvest@Home

If you are interested in getting involved in growing food in Ron Groves Park or Parkhill Recreation Ground, then we want to hear from you.

Get in touch


Wild Parishes

Do you want to take positive steps for wildlife in your parish? BBOWT are collaborating with a number of partners to support parish councillors, clerks and volunteers to discover how they can improve the local area for wildlife and residents.

Wild Oxfordshire's webinar series showcases Oxfordshire’s grassroots nature recovery projects and aims to inspire others to take action in their community.

View webinars


Community Nature Plan 2020-22

Our Community Nature Plan sets out how we will contribute towards looking after the natural environment for wildlife and people. It includes aims, actions and targets relating to health and wellbeing, planning and sustainable development, climate action and land and buildings management.

We provide support for projects which help to protect and enhance the District's habitats and species as well as provide opportunities for community involvement. We work in partnership with others to focus attention and resources on green spaces and the natural environment.