Word for the year and my plans for 2017

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I’ve already shared with you some great habits to kickstart this year that will help you and the planet, all of which I’ll try to be doing too. But I thought I’d also share my personal goals for 2017. They are mostly centred around the themes of this blog and, if nothing else, writing them down publicly might mean I actually achieve them!

A few blogs I follow and have seen whilst out and about on the ‘net have shared the idea of choosing a word, a word that will embody the year. I think it’s a much better approach than the New Year’s Resolution cliche that most of us (a.k.a. me) inevitably fails. It’s why I also like the idea I mentioned before of building new habits into your life rather than attempting huge changes all in one go, which can be impossible.

My chosen word for the year is ‘active’. So for me this is about being more proactive in my life this year to achieve, learn, experience and enjoy the things that matter to me. All of my general goals fit pretty nicely into the word ‘active’.

Explore new places

There are so many exciting and beautiful places in the UK I’ve never been to. I find it easy to think the UK is boring and dream of travelling the world but I’ve definitely come to realise there’s so many interesting and beautiful places on our island to explore. This year I’d like to visit the New Forest (we plan to go camping here in May), potentially the Shetland Isles (if me and friends ever get round to arranging it!). I’d like to check out some more nature reserves such as Minsmere, Wicken Fen (I want to see the Konik ponies!), and Slimbridge.  I’d also like to visit Wells-Next-to-the-Sea (heard so many good things),  Sherwood Forest, and more further afield, the Trossachs or Loch Arkaig in Scotland and I’d like to explore more places in Cornwall I’ve yet to see. More locally there’s Thorpe Wood (recently featured in the Guardian) and Ketton Quarry Nature Reserve.

I also hope to actively include more wildness in my life everyday, taking #30DaysWild beyond June. After reading Common Ground, I’m inspired to explore my own local edgeland far more and take the time to appreciate and learn more about the nature I have so close by.

#My200BirdYear challenge

The idea behind this challenge is to see 200 bird species in a year. Find out more about it and how I’m doing so far here. I hope to get long-eared owl, kingfisher (doable), waxwing (increasingly unlikely), linnet (apparently there are some living near my office) and bittern (unlikely) in that list!

Mammal wise I’d love to see wild otters and water voles which I narrowly missed out on last year.

Ethical and Eco-friendly

I wish to actively be more ethical and eco-friendly in my shopping habits and lifestyle. This is something I already work towards, as evidenced by this blog, but it will always be an ongoing goal. I definitely feel I’ve made a strong start becoming vegetarian last year but there’s always more we can all do. I’ll certainly look at reducing my dairy intake too.

As part of that I plan to actively be more minimalist too. This is a movement I’ve noticed slowly spread in the past year or so. The idea is step away from our consumerist culture, to clear away the clutter, unnecessary possessions and focus on the important things in life. This evidently fits well with reducing our impact on the planet as it means being less materialistic and focusing on quality over quantity. I hope it will fit in too with my aims to focus more on the things I love, what I want to achieve and prevent me from being distracted by the clamour of everyday life.

Read more nature writing

I plan to read far more nature writing this year, and perhaps even write some of my own. It’s just so fascinating to learn about people’s different connections with nature. It’s also a powerful motivator for me to make my own connections. Meadowland, Ring of Bright Water, Crow Country and The Running Sky are on my list currently.

I also plan to blog more often to practise my writing, record and share my adventures, encourage and enable others to get involved in a greener wilder lifestyle, and to help motivate me to achieve these goals.

Finally Get fit

I’ve never quite got on with exercise. I’m clumsy and uncoordinated with no spatial awareness. It’s not really something I’ve ever had the capacity to enjoy, and I honestly have no idea how gyms even work, they sound nightmarish.

There is one sport that I love and am not half-bad at, which is horse-riding. I’ve been riding since I was 7 and once upon a time it kept me pretty fit. However, for me now it’s an expensive hobby and with only an hour a week at most it’s probably not doing that much for my fitness.

But this year I really want to change that, it’s my main goal for the year. I am horribly unfit and with sitting in a car and office all day everyday I can almost feel my body stagnating into mush. I want to be as physically active as I can this year for my health and to finally become fit so I can finally walk up hills without gasping for breath!

 

So that’s the plan for 2017. Do you have an inspirational word you plan to aim for 2017? Do you have any wild or eco-friendly goals? I’d love to hear about them!

RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch 2017: what we saw!

I was too busy watching, writing and IDing birds to take any photos during our birdwatch!

Today me and the boyfriend took part in RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch that is happening this weekend, and it was a surprisingly eventful hour! I was really excited to take part this year now that we have a good sized back garden with grass, variety of deciduous and evergreen trees and hedges. I’ve also set up a stand in our front garden by our living room window that holds 3 bird feeders and a couple of dishes which is very popular with the locals.

We were going to do the hour of bird watching later in the day, but whilst making breakfast I spotted, much to my excitement, a song thrush. I was keen to include it in our results so we started then. Here’s the list of everything we saw:

  • 1 song thrush
  • 5 blackbirds (3 male, 2 female)
  • 6 house sparrows
  • 2 woodpigeons
  • 1 carrion crow
  • 1 common tern (it flew over)
  • 6 starlings
  • 1 jackdaw
  • 1 dunnock
  • 1 robin
  • 2 herring gulls (if my ID was right!)
  • 6 quail (ok I’m not being serious now, they are our pets!)

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6 New Year habits to help you and the planet

 

I love my new 2017 wall planner from Etsy! It says ‘This is my year … and I will do all the things!’

The frosted arrival of January, the beginning of a new year! A new number on the calendar and remembering to write a 7 when inscribing the date. Suddenly it feels the negativity of the past can be put aside and the positives built upon. It can’t help but invoke feelings of starting afresh within us or present us with the ideal opportunity to try new things. That’s why many of us use this month to reflect on things we’d like to improve and even task ourselves with achieving New Year’s resolutions.

Whilst grand-standing New Year’s resolutions can be an insurmountable challenge that inevitably become forgotten, establishing new habits that will benefit you and the planet could be the way to go. Improve yourself, you bank balance and help the environment! Here are 6 suggestions from me on habits to pick in 2017 that will benefit you and help our lovely old planet.

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Seeing the Seals: Trip to Donna Nook

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Grey Seal Pup

There’s nothing quite like seeing charismatic species close up in the wild and last Saturday I had the magical opportunity of seeing exactly that.  I went on a trip with the Wild Horizons Wildlife Trust group I’m a member of to see grey seals and their adorable newly born pups.

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Help save Falmouth Bay SAC

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Poldark disapproves

The stunning Falmouth Bay in Cornwall, part of the Fal and Helford Special Area of Conservation (SAC), has lived under a shadow for years. But once again this shadow has grown darker in the form of another attempt by the developers to push through their proposal to dredge the protected area. They have requested “pre-application advice” from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), the latest in a long string of attempts to get their application through.

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Brexit: My thoughts on the environment and our future

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Falmouth and Helford Special Area of Conservation (SAC).  SAC protection comes from the EU. This is SAC could face destructive dredging without EU protection.

 

Brexit means we could lose strong protections for our environment; controls on air pollution, rules on water use, protections for wildlife and key habitats, scientific research, funding on projects and collaboration on tackling climate change. Yes, these laws have been transposed into our law, however, our laws make direct reference to the directives making them more or less meaningless without the authority of the directives that comes with membership of the EU. We cannot assume our government will replace these laws to the same level. They already sought to weaken the nature directives and are currently breaking EU air pollution laws. They have already failed to meet the number of protected areas they are supposed to establish. Our country is on the cusp of being in a state of deforestation. Our government is turning its back on tackling climate change with its commitment to fracking and slashing of renewables subsidies. Valuable habitats are continuously being destroyed due to the false belief that development solves everything. Under IUCN criteria we don’t actually have any ‘national parks’.

This is the main reason, amongst many others, why I awoke on Friday to see the result and burst into tears. I was inconsolable for the whole drive to work. It was only ranting with colleagues and laughing at the ridiculousness of it all that placated the tears. The fear of what this could mean for all our hard work was tangible in the air. I work for an environmental NGO (but all views here are entirely my own). One of my colleagues works on a brilliant EU funded project. It is only now that my feelings of impending doom are beginning to fade. But even so I feel the future is less bright than it was before 23rd June.

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30 Days Wild: Books and Birds for Days 9, 10 and 11 

Days 9-10 mainly centred around wild birds and nature books for my 30 Days Wild.

Day 9

The boyfriend lives in Hampton in Peterborough which is a recently developed area on what used to be brick fields. Buglife, The Wildlife Trust and Froglife were involved in the design of the area and I definitely think it is an example of what all housing developments should be like. It’s a beautiful place with lots of wildlife, long grass and little lakes. House martins, terns, swifts and swallows can be seen regularly flitting through the houses and dipping down to the water. On this day we headed to one of the lakes to see what wildlife we could find. Coots, geese and more geese!

They were tame enough to let us feed them by hand and the goslings were adorable. And on the way back home we saw a heron hunting.

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