Issue 102 is out now
Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

28th January 2021

Spot first signs of spring, Imbolc celebrations, windowsill gardening for kids, join the Big Garden Birdwatch! Plus free kindness short film and virtual snowdrop festival!

Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

28th January 2021

Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

28th January 2021

DO Roots and Shoots
Have you spotted some very early signs of spring? We have seen snowdrops, crocuses and, despite the snow that’s blanketed much of the country this week, there’s a whisper of warmth in the sun. This Woodland Detectives sheet details some more optimistic signals, from bird song to elder bud burst and hazel catkins; take a look at it here, and find more nature activity resources here. Can’t make it out to spot snowdrops in the wild? Visit Devon’s Garden House virtual galanthus festival!

DO Teeny Greeny
Microgreens are the first shoots of salad vegetables and herbs. They taste fresh and young and are packed with vitamins. They make a great first growing project – a garden will fit neatly on a windowsill – and are ideal for trying as a family. Find some tips from the National Trust here, and find out more, including the ten best microgreens to grow, here.

EVENT Going Cheep
This weekend’s RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is a wonderful, inclusive way for even the smallest of children to connect with nature and a brilliant way to brighten up and make special a lockdown weekend. It’s the world’s largest garden wildlife survey – every January, half a million people spend an hour counting the winged creatures that come into their garden, balcony or park. This year, why not fill in the section about other wildlife you’ve spotted in the garden; hedgehogs, frogs and other wildlife are all facing tough times, and you could help build up a fuller picture of how our garden creatures are faring. Download a pack and join in the fun.

DO and RECIPE Spring Whispers
In pre-Christian times, Imbolc or Candlemas – celebrated this coming Monday – was known as the ‘feast of lights’ and marked the half-way point between the shortest day and the Spring equinox (we have some ideas for celebrating it here). Candles would be lit in order to give reassurance to others that they were not alone, and that the sun would return. It’s still a chance to celebrate the live-giving power of the sun, as its rays start to gain in strength. Crepes are traditionally eaten on this day – there’s a recipe for them here, alongside other Candlemas treats, including Honey Cakes and Gingerly Baked Custard. Or why not do some Candlemas-themed crafts? Try this hand-cranked storyteller, bend reeds to make a Brigid Cross, pour candles or carve them.

EVENT Kindness is Contagious
Mr Popple is a kind, elderly man who lives alone with just his pet tortoise, Tommy, for company. When his neighbours suddenly find themselves housebound, he notices their struggles and sets out to share some joy. His acts of kindness transform strangers into friends (and pop stars!) and a community is born. When We Started Singing is an uplifting short film that features BSL, storytelling and song, and is perfect for families with children aged 5+. Presented by Oxford’s North Wall Arts Centre – check out their other creative online offerings. Streaming from Saturday. Free.

BONUS ACTIVITY - MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR EXERCISE WALKS

The last year has seen us exploring our neighbourhood on foot more deeply than ever. We’ve found nature reserves we didn’t know existed, pockets of wildness filled with animals, flowers and plants to forage and eat. We’ve scoured large-scale maps for new pathways and cycle routes, and looked at this historical map overlay site to find long-forgotten ancient monuments and quirky historical sites nearby to explore. Why not try looking for some secret history near you? Atlas Obscura compiles local oddities from a tree trail across Hackney to whirlpools conjured up by witches and trees growing in a mandala of tombstones laid by a famous writer. Find the whole glorious global map of curiosities here and explore this weird world from your desktop. Find more ideas to make your daily walk more fun here

What we’ve been reading this week:

‘Who doesn’t love a turtle?’ The teenage boys on a mission – to rewild Britain with reptiles “At 17, they were meant to be taking their A-levels this year. But Harvey Tweats and Tom Whitehurst have a big ambition: to replace the toads, frogs and lizards we have lost” Read more here

Found something inspirational to read that you’d like to share? Want to share your creations with us? Have an idea for things to do? We’d love to hear from you. Email Kate

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