My love of wildlife

Louise Baker's boys 

My love affair with wildlife began before I was born. You could say it was predestined; my maternal grandfather, Harold, was a naturalist – and not a naturist, as I would tell people as a child!

He spent vast amounts of time engaging with the world around him, whether that meant drawing and painting wildlife, collecting artifacts, documenting species behaviour, or simply taking the time to exist on the edge of the Broads in a home he called The Wilderness. His passion for wildlife seems to have rubbed off on me, regardless of how short a time our paths crossed for.

 

My childhood was divided between our ‘library’ (a conservatory with a few shelves), in which my wildlife fact-files were stored, and the field next door to our house; back then the trees and lumpy grass were our playground. My best friend and I would take long trips around the local lakes, creating stories for the swans that lived there, and paddling in the water. We’d look out for birds, kid ourselves that we’d seen fantastic beasts, and fish with plastic bags; we couldn’t get enough of being outdoors. What I remember most about my childhood was how amazing everything seemed.

 

I remember scaling rock faces, scrambling around ponds, and walking for what seemed like hours at a time. We collected mementos everywhere, whether the woodlands, beach, or flowers from the field next door. We would build dens for the woodlice we’d captured as pets, house ladybirds in ice cream tubs, and marvel at the tadpoles as they grew legs in our pond; we lived alongside nature and breathed it in.

 

Engaging with wildlife is as simple as noticing a snail on a garden wall, hearing a bird calling above the noise of traffic, or even just walking a slightly different way home so you can spend longer outside. My children love looking for mini beasts, splashing in puddles, watching the rain, and identifying a new bird on our feeders.

 

Wildlife is closer than you could possibly imagine, and easier to engage with than you think. Try our 30 Days Wild challenge and see if you can do something wild every day in June!

30 Days Wild

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Relaxing in a meadow, Matthew Roberts