wellbeing

Gardens for wildlife

Well done B&Q! As the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, they’ve just commissioned a report into the importance of gardens for wildlife, with practical ideas on how to help.

It includes a top 10 tips for beginner gardeners, including creating shelter, ponds, and making your cat safe and seen to reduce the threat to wildlife:

B&Q

The report shows that 67% of people are concerned about British wildlife, and with 24 million gardens in the UK, there’s plenty of scope for people to get involved. Having a small garden doesn’t stop you from making a difference for wildlife. Even small spaces are valuable for songbirds and other wildlife. SongBird Survival have some great tips for small spaces, as well as lots of information on planting for birds.

With wildlife conservation news often focused on the doom and gloom, B&Q’s report shows that there’s a lot to be hopeful about in terms of UK wildlife.

To find out more about how you can help wildlife in your garden, read the full B&Q Nature of Gardens report here.

Bird watching for mental health

A new study has found that living in an area with lots of birds, shrubs and trees can have a positive effect on your mental health.

The collaborative project between the University of Exeter, the BTO and the University of Queensland surveyed nearly 300 people to investigate which components of nature are linked to positive mental-health outcomes.

Researchers assessed the impacts of vegetation cover and bird abundance on levels of depression, anxiety of stress. They found that people living in neighbourhoods with higher levels of vegetation cover and afternoon bird abundance, had reduced severity of depression, anxiety, and stress. Furthermore, the study found that those people that spent less time outdoors were also susceptible to feeling more anxious and depressed.

The positive effects of nature on well-being have long been documented. A review for the Wildlife Trusts carried out by the University of Essex in 2015 found significant improvements to well-being as a result of contact with nature.

For those of us that live in urban areas, the majority have access to a park or garden, and this research shows that getting outside and enjoying what nature has to offer is a cheap, easy, and surprisingly effective way of improving your health.

With spring just around the corner, now is a fantastic time to experience the UK’s bird life and the wonder of the dawn chorus. Why not visit SongBird Survival’s dawn chorus page for a taste of what’s in store? Once you’ve heard the magic of birds welcoming a new day with their song, we’re sure you’ll want to get out there, enjoy it and feel better!

The full research paper can be read here.