Jane is a naturalist, photographer and nature writer living in Dorset. Her work has appeared in books, anthologies and blogs for charities such as The Wildlife Trusts and the International Bee Research Association. When she’s not exploring Dorset’s lanes and countryside she can be found lying on her stomach watching insects in her garden. Jane’s entry for this blog’s Lockdown Nature-writing challenge was shortlisted and can be found by clicking here. Jane is currently studying for an MA in Travel and Nature Writing at Bath Spa University and can be found: www.janevadams.com and on Twitter @WildlifeStuff
On the basis of Jane’s entry in the Lockdown Nature-writing Challenge, and a couple of guest blogs she has written for this site since (Weevils and Wool-carder Bee) I have persuaded Jane to write a monthly article to appear on the last Saturday of the month. June’s article was on Stag Beetles and here is July’s…
As lockdown eases, are people losing the love they discovered for nature? It kept us sane and gave us hope at a time when things felt hopeless, but will we be there for nature when it needs us?
My unmown lawn is a delicious tangle of dandelions and fox and cubs; the hairy perennial, rather than the hairy mammal, whose common name hints at its orange flower – the fox – standing alongside its litter of buds.
I’d love to boast that I’ve been taking part in Plantlife’s pollinator-friendly #NoMowMay and #LetItBloomJune but in all honesty it was #lockdownlaziness and an aversion to a growling mower that skulks in the shed. But my laziness seems to have paid off – there’s definitely more insects in the garden.
Looking across the lawn flowers bob and bow under the continuously moving weight of feeding bees, butterflies and hoverflies, above them a brown hawker dragonfly grabs at unsuspecting prey, as grasshoppers scratch a tune below.
Yesterday evening I stayed in the garden as it cooled and watched as the sky melted to ruby and purple hues. Flowers closed but others, like the jasmine and nicotiana, oozed an earthy musk, calling sexily to the moths and mosquitoes deep in the hedge.
And with the insects came bats. Tiny pipistrelles from under the eaves flitted awkwardly around the house as if worked by invisible strings. Once muscles were warmed, they dropped to a few feet above the lawn, eager to feed. I stood in their way and closed my eyes. When I was a child, I could hear bat echo-location calls, but last night the click of their wings as they jerked and jinxed, and the occasional breeze on my face as they maneuvered around me, was enough to send shivers down my spine.
The benefits of being in nature have been discussed a lot in the media during the Covid-19 pandemic – at the beginning, forced to stay nearer to home, people seemed to make the most of discovering or rediscovering their local patch and became excited by the wildlife they saw in their gardens. Now that we all have more freedom it feels like that general enthusiasm and love for nature is waning again.
Lockdown definitely made me reassess my garden, its wild inhabitants, and my feelings towards the natural world. I know that the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world and the problems faced by nature sometimes feel overwhelming and insurmountable.
This winter I’ll dig another pond, a bigger one where the dragonflies can lay their eggs, the bats can skim the surface for mozzies and the birds and mammals can drink. I’ll donate as much as I can to my local Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and other organisations trying to help wildlife, and I’ll keep recording old trees for the Woodland Trust. I don’t have the answers, I’m clutching at straws, but hopefully some of us will hang onto that passion we felt for the natural world during lockdown – and maybe, just maybe, we can help to ensure nature thrives in the future.
New research reveals huge public support for putting nature at the heart of Coronavirus recovery plans https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/rspb-news/news/stories/poll-shows-people-in-england-support-nature-in-covid-recovery/
Drawing on the latest research, this report shows how a variety of natural landscapes in the UK can store carbon and could absorb a third of UK emissions if these degraded habitats were to be expertly restored. https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/sites/default/files/2020-06/Let%20Nature%20Help.pdf
Proposals for a Nature Recovery Network of joined-up habitats to help wildlife and people to thrive. https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/sites/default/files/2018-06/Nature_recovery_network_final.pdf