The evidence that connecting to nature is good for you is increasingly compelling. Many recent studies have shown the wellbeing benefits of spending time outdoors. These include Butterfly Conservation’s own study with the University of Derby, demonstrating reduced anxiety through participation in the Big Butterfly Count.
With this in mind, it is surely more vital than ever that everyone can access and enjoy wildlife on their doorstep. This concept is at the heart of Wild Spaces, Butterfly Conservation’s ambitious strategic goal to transform 100,000 spaces where butterflies and moths can thrive by 2026.
Wild Spaces is all about engaging people from many different walks of life across the UK, inspiring them to take action, both as an individual and as part of their community. Colourful creatures such as our native butterflies and moths provide opportunities for us all to connect to nature and feel better.
There is no doubt that creating or improving a Wild Space can give nature a helping hand, and the personal benefits we might gain apply regardless of the size of the space. From small planters on an urban balcony, to a few pots of wild herbs on a patio, an area of nettles left wild in a garden, to a large outdoor community space providing habitat for butterflies and moths throughout their life cycle, all Wild Spaces matter.
For anyone unsure of how to start, the Wild Spaces website provides simple resources offering step-by-step advice and guidance, tailored to suit the type of Wild Space to be created or improved. Our ambition is to create a growing movement, with an active online community of ‘Wild Spacers’ that helps people share their experiences and connect to others within and beyond their neighbourhood.
Engaging people from diverse backgrounds will also be a priority for new Wild Spaces projects. These will build on our National Lottery Heritage Fund project already underway in Perth and Stirling, which runs workshops and discovery days for the local community, as well as visits to demonstration Wild Spaces to provide inspiration.
We believe Wild Spaces has an important role to play in helping to create a shared sense of empowerment and to inspire people across the UK to feel they can make a difference.