New poll reveals that Leeds’s city-dwellers love nature but don’t get enough of it

Thursday 1st June 2017

Badger in the city (Credit Terry Whittaker) Badger in the city (Credit Terry Whittaker)

30 Days Wild challenge from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust helps people enjoy nature every day.

A new poll of 201 people living in Leeds reveals that city-dwellers have a strong affinity for nature and think that it’s important to help care for it. But the poll also highlights a conflict: while city-dwellers feel that nature is important to them, they find it hard to connect with it as much as they’d like to and a high proportion of people want to see more nature in cities.

The survey comes at a time when we have stronger evidence than ever before that nature is good for us and makes us happy.* However, people feel increasingly disconnected from nature and not enough is being done to ensure that the places where most people actually live and work – our cities – have thriving wildlife.

The poll reveals:

• 91% of Leeds’s city-dwellers feel that nature is important to them but 77% of them don’t think that they spend enough time in nature

• Just 19% said that the last ‘wow’ moment they had with nature was in their local city area – while 64% of people’s most recent special moments with nature were from elsewhere, such as television, holidays and visits to the countryside. Only 5% have enjoyed a wild place as part of their working day in the last week

• 94% of adults think it’s important to help nature - 67% report doing something to help it in their garden - and 84% of adults want to see more nature in Leeds

The poll results are released as The Wildlife Trusts launch their 30 Days Wild challenge running throughout June, encouraging people to commit Random Acts of Wildness – daily connections with nature – every day for thirty days. More than 35,000 have pledged to do this so far including 3,000 schools and 1,000 businesses.

Caroline Thorogood, Director of Operations for West and South Yorkshire says: “The poll clearly shows how much nature means to people living in cities - people love nature so much that a high proportion say they are doing something to help care for it.

“It’s a shame that only a fifth of city-dwellers have experienced a special moment where they were amazed by wildlife they’d seen or heard in their local area recently; the beauty of wild plants and sounds of bees buzzing and birdsong should be available to us all. Those ‘wow’ wildlife moments are all around though- Yorkshire Wildlife Trust cares for many nature reserves across Leeds where you can experience special wildlife – including places like Adel Dam and Kirkstall Valley and 30 Days Wild is the perfect way to help you discover the magic of nature in Leeds.”

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust are urging everyone to take part in the 30 Days Wild challenge and have ‘wow’ moments every day during June. Discover the urban jungle - spot gorgeous goldfinches or ferns growing out of walls! Take action for nature by planting a mini-meadow in a window box or create a container pond!

The impact of taking part in 30 Days Wild has been tracked by academics at the University of Derby. Their study* found that people who did something ‘wild’ each day for a month, felt happier, healthier and more connected to nature, with added benefits for the natural world too.

Dr Miles Richardson, Director of Psychology, who led the study, said: “The impact of 30 Days Wild adds to the compelling argument for bringing nature into our everyday lives. Two months after taking part in 30 Days Wild, there was a 30 per cent increase in the number of people who reported their health as excellent. Last year’s results also show people’s happiness continued to improve after 30 Days Wild ended, which illustrates its sustained impact. This is important as it is happiness and connecting with nature that influence improvements in health. Our study also shows that those who benefitted most were younger adults and those who weren’t ‘nature lovers’."

Take the 30 Days Wild Nature Challenge
Can you go wild every day for a whole month? Take the 30 Days Wild nature challenge this June with The Wildlife Trusts.

•Spend a few minutes, or a few hours each day enjoying nature on your doorstep - how you do it is up to you. Get a free 30 Days Wild pack - activities, wildflower seeds, chart, stickers (or download a pack without seeds). Schools can download specially tailored packs to support teachers, including outdoor lesson plans for literacy and numeracy, activity sheets and a large pack of Random Act of Wildness cards.

*30 Days Wild: Development and Evaluation of a Large-Scale Nature Engagement Campaign to Improve Well-Being. February 18 th 2016 PLoS One. Kelly Tyler, Public Relations Officer, University of Derby on 01332 591891 / 07876 476103 or k.tyler@derby.ac.uk

List of YWT Nature Reserves (A-Z)

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