Plast Off! litter pick – Radnorshire Wildlife Trust volunteers

It can be easy at this time of year to retreat into a cosy home or bury ourselves in work. Living through some of the shortest days of the year in challenging weather conditions can seem relentless sometimes (though – fingers crossed – we are promised a drier spell is on the cards for the rest of January 2024!) And winter weather conditions can definitely impact on our mental health. So, what can we do to renew, refresh and generally feel better about life at the start of 2024?

For some people, after the excesses of the festive season, it’s time to take on a new challenge

This could be changing or adapting our diet with a dip into Veganuary “for a greener planet, lower food bills, better health and kindness to animals”.

Giving up alcohol for January is also a popular option with Dry January encouraging growing numbers to go sober to start the new year “for a body and mind reset”. Others determined to improve both their physical health and emotional wellbeing opt for new exercise routines – perhaps they join a gym, try a new sport or sign up for online classes or the local weekly Parkrun.

Yet another option, and one we want to explore more here, is getting outdoors to appreciate and do our bit for Nature in this, our wonderful county of Powys!

Here are some activities, (along with details of helpful organisations), that can encourage just that, with the added benefit of social interaction in most cases for those that want to make new friends (or just meet up with family and friends to take part). Litter picking, bird watching and wildlife walking are all suitable too for those needing some space, perhaps time for themselves to recharge their batteries, after a busy or draining festive time – many people have to work through the winter break after all!

Plast Off! litter pick – Radnorshire Wildlife Trust – 13 January

Kick-start your New Year with a litter pick and do something positive for local wildlife! Join Radnorshire Wildlife Trust and the Lakeside Boathouse on Saturday 13th January in Llandrindod Wells anytime between 10am until 1pm. Free hot drinks will be provided for those taking part!

Plast Off! is a Wales wide event, organised by Stand for Nature Wales youth groups around the country. The aim is to remove plastic and other litter from the environment that could cause harm to our wildlife.

There is no need to book this event, just turn up! This event is in association with the Lakeside Boathouse.

More information HERE.

Big Garden Birdwatch from the RSPB – 26 – 28 January

Join the world’s largest garden wildlife survey!

Every year, hundreds of thousands of nature lovers take part, helping to build a picture of how garden birds are faring.

All you have to do is spend an hour watching the birds in your patch, between 26 and 28 January, and record the birds that land (so not those which just fly by). Then you can record your sightings on the RSPB website.

Last year half a million people took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch recording an amazing 9.1 million birds! House sparrow took the top spot. Which birds will you spot on your patch this year…?

More information HERE.

Wildlife walking – Winter Bird Walk in Builth Wells with South & West Wales Wildlife Trust – 10 February

A four hour walk from Builth Wells to spot resident and visiting winter birds with the County Recorder for Brecknock, Andrew King. With a mixture of habitats including the River Wye, woodland, and farmland there is a chance to see a wide variety of birds.

Please bring your own binoculars and wear warm wet weather gear and appropriate footwear. Also bring some snacks or lunch and a drink. Please note that dogs are not allowed on this walk.

More information and booking online (essential) HERE.

Nature reserve maintenance – local wildlife trusts, ongoing

Our local wildlife trusts are always on the lookout for keen volunteers to help look after the many and varied reserves in the county. What better way to keep fit, meet like-minded people and see some of the stunning wildlife we share this beautiful county of Powys with?

If you are interested then contact your nearest wildlife trust:

North Powys – Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust

Mid Powys – Radnorshire Wildlife Trust

South Powys – Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales

Spring Clean Cymru with Keep Wales Tidy – 15 – 3 March

Spring Clean Cymru is part of the Great British Spring Clean, the nation’s biggest mass-action environmental campaign.

7,000 “litter heroes” collected more than 4,000 bags of litter and recycling last year!

“Keep Wales Tidy believe that everyone deserves to live in a community they can be proud of but according to UK figures, less than half of UK adults (43%) currently agree that they feel proud of their community.”

Litter picking is a simple action that anyone can do to make an immediate and visible difference to their area.

If you want to be one of the first to pledge your support, you can register your interest HERE. More information coming in February 2024!

These wonderful voluntary organisations have contributed a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm into organising these events – so let’s support them, wildlife and the environment, whilst at the same time boosting our own positive mental health. Whilst all these events are free, donations are welcomed.

Finally Happy New Year 2024 from everyone at PAVO’s mental health team! 
We’d love to hear more if you have ideas about getting outdoors in Nature, 
to help the local environment and boost your wellbeing. 
Let us know in the comments below.

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