People’s Plan for Nature: “I love all nature and I love being alive.”

I feel honoured to be involved with People’s Plan for Nature along with the Staying Out group at ARC. Staying Out is a weekly crafting, chatting, cuppas and biscuits class for participants over 65 who have been identified as being socially isolated in their community, or who have recently been discharged from the hospital. All participants are referred by the GP to attend Staying Out.

Together we created this tree (pictured), partly using recycled items, whilst we chatted about People’s Plan for Nature. Ideas and thoughts in abundance, many written upon the labels dangling on the branches.

Participants love the variety of nature, cultivated and wild, appreciating the colours of each season, autumnal walks crunching through fallen leaves, the burrs on the tree trunks, woodland wildlife, and walks with the family in parks and gardens.

Riverside and beach walks are loved too, with comments made about adventuring out at 5am to watch the wildlife waking up, listening to the bird calls and the trees rustling, and simply enjoying the freedom to walk amongst such beauty.

One lady enjoys watching the birds in the wetland reserve behind her daughter’s house. Another gets “told off” by her grandchildren when she forgets to feed the garden birds. Another expressed excitement that she had seen a hedgehog in her garden.

A childhood memory was captured as a participant recalled “taddy and tiddler fishing” in the local stream, and taking them home in a jam jar, only realising in adult life that that wasn’t such a good idea after all! This led to a conversation about parents or schools teaching children to care for nature, especially not removing something from its natural habitat.

Several participants have noticed how allotments have become popular again with people taking pride in growing fruit, veg, and flowers. One commented that she doesn’t grow any veg but always composts the kitchen veg waste.

Lockdown featured in the comments too, suggesting that people started to appreciate nature closer to home whilst out on their daily walk around the housing estates, green belts, parks, and field footpaths.

One gentleman made a comment which I shall conclude with:
“I love all nature and I love being alive.”

Carol Lonsdale | Staying Out Facilitator