Last week I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from Steve Hamm from a company called Swarm. Swarm is a creative collaboration company and is working with the RSPB and the National Trust, amongst other partners, to develop a project called the Nature Intelligence Unit (NIU). The NIU is an open innovation and collaboration project aimed at getting people actively involved in noticing and conserving nature.
Steve came across my blog via the Wildlife Trust’s fabulous 30 Days Wild initiative and found there was a nice overlap with my own interest in noticing and monitoring nature. A few days later we had a chat on Skype about my involvement with nature, where my interest came from, what I do when I’m out and about etc. He also asked for my feedback on a variety of projects that are already running including iSpot and the Big Garden Birdwatch.
I had a pleasant hour chatting to Steve and it was fantastic to be involved with the project in its early stages. Our conversation got me thinking about how and why I became so absorbed by nature and I came up with these main strands:
1) Finding something bigger than myself; nature helped me to put my own problems into perspective and it is a relief not to always be pre-occupied with the stress of modern day living.
2) I was unhappy at school and wildlife provided an escape for me – a world in which I wasn’t judged. There was also the amazement of discovering another world in my back garden – something that still excites me to the day.
3) For well being – chance to slow down when life becomes an on going assault of noises, demands etc.
4) Animals are endlessly fascinating and there is always more to learn about them. I remember as a child copying drawings from a Reader’s Digest book that my parents had given me on animal behaviour. I can still feel the tingle of excitement as I learnt about nature’s amazing adaptations and survival instincts.
One of my clearest memories from Junior School was being given a double sided sheet of A4 with a list of wildlife tasks to carry out over the summer holiday. To me, it was the most thrilling list ever and I kept it for years afterwards, remembering finding slow worms, creating a wormery and discovering hedgehog poo!
I would love to hear what inspired you to become involved in nature and what nature brings to your life. Please do add a comment or contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org