This 2020 Coronavirus lockdown is really tough for everyone, restricting us to our homes, limiting us to accessing nature in our gardens or during walks. For many people, we have a garden we can sit in and leafy roads we can walk along whilst taking our daily one hour allowance of freedom.
|Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig on a Lockdown Walk
Copyright Mya-Rose Craig
|Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig with Chris Packham on Colledge Green, Bristol
Copyright Mya-Rose Craig
However, for many people, life under lockdown is even more difficult. Now think about children living in deprivation in our inner cities, especially those who are Visible Minority Ethnic (VME). Parents waiting for universal credit to come through so children living off ‘free school meal’ food hampers.
At home with a number of siblings in overcrowded homes, with no space for any kind of quiet contemplation or even just your own space. Parents without the skills to home school, no computers, no printers, no paper, no paint, no felt tips or crayons. No garden, concreted drive at the front of the house, broken washing machines left on the pavements, only built up roads to walk along and now banned from entering parks. It is really important for everyone especially primary age children to get outside daily, to take in the air, watch the clouds, to absorb nature – the trees, grass and flowers. As humans were are part of nature and have developed to live as part of it. It is really important for your physical and mental health to relax, calm and reduce anxiety & fears and that is exactly what connecting with nature helps us do. There are ways that you and your children can connect with nature, in any small green space, balcony or even out of the window.
Day One – 1st April 2020
This one is to do with an adult.
Using a Map and Google Earth App on a phone, work out 7 walking routes from your home that will take about an hour.
These should be walking along roads and footpaths that are less busy, where you will pass grass or trees on part of the route.
Try to find 7 different routes and don’t include going into any parks or heavily used places such as the Bath and Bath Railway Path.
Then walk a different route each day as a family and make changes after each one, to make them better for isolation, nature and relaxation. Talk about upbeat things such as hobbies, music, TV programmes and use them as a chance to get to know each other more.
Day Two – 2nd April 2020
For day two, I thought I would start easy. I went to my garden and felt grass under the soles of my feet and between my toes. I moved around a bit whilst I was doing it to feel the air. I know most people living in the inner-city don’t have gardens, so find a bit of green space, choose somewhere that is a clean and safe area. Take a bag with you and if necessary, do a bit of litter picking first, then kick off your shoes and spend five minutes feeling nature.
Day Three – 3rd April 2020
For day three, I just looked up at the sky, to watch the clouds passing over and feel their beauty. For those people who don’t have a garden and maybe live in flats, try going outside and looking maybe if you are going for a walk or just looking out of your window and watching from there.
Day Four – 4th April 2020
For day four, I was spending an hour doing a bio-blitz.
This is when you try and find as many different species as possible during the hour. You can keep a record by taking photos on a phone, doing drawings or maybe picking a leaf. It’s fine to just enjoy looking at different natural things and just admire their beauty but if you would like, you could try and identify things using the internet or books if you have any at home.
If you live in the inner city without a garden, why don’t you leave an outside light on when it’s dark and then have a look at the moths drawn to it, noticing a few different ones in the light.
Day Five – 5th April 2020
For day five, I smelt flowers in the garden, but if you don’t have a garden you could try this anywhere there are a few flowers, whether wild or not. Take in the smell and really enjoy it. Remember how good this feels.