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Nature connection whilst at home

Following the latest government announcement that people can resume 'unlimited outdoor exercise' and 'driving to other destinations', the people, communities and wildlife of the Norfolk Coast are facing an increase in visitors. While it is not in our nature to encourage people to stay away, it is currently vital that we do so to ensure these special places are not overwhelmed. In many places on the coast there is not the infrastructure to support the necessary social distancing or to protect the vulnerable wildlife, communities, staff and volunteers.

A multitude of studies have shown the importance of nature for our mental and physical health. There are plenty of ways to enjoy and share the natural world from your own home. Maybe you can create a new wildlife habitat in your garden, or record the plants and animals that you find in it, to maintain important natural connections and develop a closer relationship with nature on your doorstep?

Here are some ideas for how you can remain connected with nature whilst you are at home.               

Stay safe and well, everyone.

Stay at home activities from some Norfolk Coast AONB partners and friends;

Norfolk Wildlife Trust: Links to local webcams and a wealth of national Wildlife Trust resources for children and adults can be found at Norfolk_Wildlife_Trust_News2020 There are wildlife programme on YouTube with a new video uploaded to Wildlife Watch UK every Wednesday. Tag them using #EverydayWildlife across social media.

RSPB: Find useful guidance at RSPB_how-to-attract-birds-to-your-garden-ten-top-tips which is full of information to get you ready to take part in the daily RSPBs-breakfast-birdwatch Use the tag #BreakfastBirdwatch on social media.

National Trust: Go to National_Trust.org.uk-guide-to-birdsong-and-bird-spotting for the National Trust guide to garden bird song and scroll down the page for links to further nature based activity ideas to do at home.  The Eastern Region team are sharing themed photos, recipes and quizzes on social media. For Twitter use #NTTreasureHunt and find them also at Facebook_EastofEnglandNT

The Broads: Joining other National Parks, the Broads are using the tag #NatureInLockdown to share photos and stories of your wildlife observations in your homes and gardens at the time. Their website has links to lots of other useful ideas, including wildlife identification help and outdoor mindfulness  Visit_the_broads_blog-how-to-beat-the-coronavirus-blues

Holkham: Find the newly launched 'Holkhome' on their website & Social Media.  Holkhome  provides photos, videos, blogs and interviews to give you an insight into the running of the estate and national nature reserve to keep you in touch whilst you are not able to visit them.

Norfolk Museums: King's Lynn museum has virtual tours online at Norfolk_Museums-Lynn-museum-online-exhibitions while you are unable to visit.

More stay at home ideas;

Wildlife watching

The nesting peregrines on Cromer Church are great to view via social media at  Facebook-Cromer Peregrines  and  YouTube Cromer Peregrines  They're also on Twitter @CromerPeregrine

Go to Nature_ID_Bird_Quiz to take a quiz of your choice on birds. You can compete against friends in competition groups.

Use the tag #NatureNeighbours on social media to share photos of wildlife in your garden with others, including the Field-studies-council who also have a wealth of wildlife gardening activity ideas and identification guides.

Recording

The Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership, working closely with NBIS, the Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service, has a list of local and national recording programmes and guidance on how to use each of them on their website Norfolk_Biodiversity_Wildlife-Recording-at-home

The Norfolk Naturalists website also has a very comprehensive list of recording contacts and services to enable you to get involved at Norfolk_Naturalists_recording 

Butterfly Conservation holds an annual Garden Butterfly Survey supporting you to record and report butterflies that visit your garden over the course of a year. Download their handy identification guide and sign up to participate here They are also encouraging us to create a wildflower patch in the garden by leaving an area un-mowed Butterfly blog gives advice for other things you can do to help butterflies and bees too.

BTO are allowing people to join their Garden Birdwatch for free during Coronavirus at BTO_Garden_Bird_Watch  Tag #GardenBirdWatch on social media

Reading

'Walk with me', celebrating the Norfolk Coast area of outstanding natural beauty, is a book of poetry and images by those who love this place and is a fantastic celebration of the coast. It features the work of 23 photographers and nine poets, an introduction by journalist and author Patrick Barkham, 66 pages of evocative poems and dazzling photographs. Order a copy from our online shop at Norfolk_Coast_AONB_Online_shop  (we are still able to administer the online shop whilst working from home, but slight delays are inevitable).

Writing

Entries are open for the Nature And Place Poetry Competition 2020 brought to you by The Rialto magazine in association with the RSPB, BirdLife International and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. Poems are invited that deal with any aspect of nature and place. Closing Date is May 1st 2020. 

Keep in touch with friends and family using our greetings cards. Featuring 'Outstanding', a print of Morston harbour by Robert Gillmor, they are a lovely reminder of the Norfolk coast. Available to buy in packs of five from Norfolk_Coast_AONB_Online_shop. A poster of the same beautiful image is also available.

Activities for children;

RNLI: Find a variety of activity sheets, video clips and online activities about beach and water safety at RNLI_youth-education-resources  or join their #WaterSafetyWednesdays sessions on Facebook_RNLI

Steve Backshall: Watch a Wildlife Q&A session that can be viewed on YouTube or his Facebook page here

Wildlife Trusts: Find some great practical ideas for nature-based activities for children including making a bird feeder, a mini nature reserve, and  lots more here 

RSPB: Take part in the WildArt 2020 Competition RSPB_wild-art2020

National Trust: There are several of the Trust's '50 things to do before you are 11 ¾' which can be ticked off at home, including National_Trust-cloud-watchingNational_Trust-make-friends-with-a-bug and  National_Trust-help-a-wild-animal

Scout & Girlguiding Leaders: We have produced a  Norfolk Coast AONB Challenge for Scout and Guiding  members of all ages. At present (March 2020) strict travel restrictions are in place due to coronavirus which will obviously result in groups currently being unable to visit the Norfolk coast. However, most of the activities in the challenge from the Norfolk Coast Partnership are suitable for Scouting and Guiding members to do at home. 

Support in the community

Advice, support and volunteering opportunities for local communities are available at;

https://www.north-norfolk.gov.uk/tasks/projects/coronavirus/

https://www.west-norfolk.gov.uk/coronavirus

https://www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk/coronavirus 

 

Shop local

Many local shops and businesses are now offering delivery services for people in isolation, they need your business more than ever right now. Find our Norfolk AONB local products directory at Norfolk_Coast_AONB_local-products

The Marine Conservation Society have a useful guide for supporting our local fishing industry at  MCSuk_support_local_sustainable_fishing

Whatever you choose to do just remember, you do not have to leave your house to connect with nature, nature is free and nature can help us all through these challenging times.

Please do share your experiences with us via Twitter @NorfolkAONB and please continue to follow government advice and stay at home.