Tag Archives: new years resolution

Wildlife Garden Challenge for 2016

I love a challenge. Particularly if it involves lots of plotting, scheming, research and planning. So, inspired by my recent success in the Surrey Wildlife Garden awards, my challenge for 2016 is to make my garden even more wildlife-friendly.  I want to do something each month to improve my wildlife garden.

Why is it important to make our gardens wildlife friendly? In a densely populated country like England, gardens make up a large proportion of our green space. Gardens have become increasingly important as farming practices have changed, reducing the food sources and shelter for wildlife that was traditionally available in our countryside. Gardens can be brilliant for wildlife, but they can also be deserts – just because something is green doesn’t mean it’s wildlife-friendly. If everyone with a garden took some steps to make their garden more wildlife-friendly it could have a big impact. (You don’t need green fingers to do this, nor do you need to let your garden get as scruffy as mine!)

So what’s my garden like for wildlife at the moment? I took stock of it a few months ago, when applying for the award. It’s not doing too badly for a patch only 7m by 7m. But I’m convinced it could be even better.

I spent new year’s eve sitting by the fire, listing all the things I could feasibly do to make my garden more wildlife friendly.  I’m not going to tell you what all the ideas are now – you’ll have to keep following to find out. To help keep track, I’ve added a wildlife gardening menu to my blog, where you can find all my posts about wildlife gardening. Some of the activities will be quick wins (helped by kind Christmas presents from my family). Others are bigger projects that will take more time, energy and money, but potentially have a larger impact.

Dr C has kindly agreed to go along with my plan, which is just as well, as I’ll need his muscle power for some of the ideas. Now all I need is a dry weekend day to get cracking!

Why not join me on this #wildgarden2016 challenge over the year? Seeing wildlife move in to the new habitats I’ve made in my garden has been massively rewarding. We could share ideas, encourage each other, and report back on changes we see. If you’re up for it, leave a comment or tweet using #wildgarden2016 .

Need some inspiration? These websites are helpful:


Photo resolution

2015 arrived while I was sleeping. Happy new year, everyone! A new year, time for a new challenge. Obviously there’s plenty to keep me busy with the British Animal Challenge. But I’ve also resolved to take more photos.

Preparing for the craft fair in November made me realise most of my best photos are years old. But I also got some really encouraging feedback. Not only did people give me lots of complements, they put their money where their mouth was and bought some of my photos.

Going to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition was humbling.  It also reminded me there are loads of photographic techniques that I could try out.

Reflecting on those things made me decide to do more photography in 2015. That’s easy to say, but I know if I left it at that I would soon run out of ideas and lose interest. So, to push myself, I am going to set myself a new challenge each month. Hopefully this will encourage me to try new techniques, and actually get out more with the camera.

The list of challenges may well change a bit over the course of the year, as I get new ideas and opportunities. But here’s the first draft.

  • January: winter nature
  • February: still life
  • March: birds in the wild
  • April: spring nature
  • May: garden
  • June: insects
  • July: summer nature
  • August: woodland
  • September: seascapes
  • October: autumn leaves
  • November: landscapes
  • December: portraits

There’s also a number of techniques I want to experiment with over the year, including:

  • Using flash
  • Low-light / night
  • Macro
  • Using my 50mm prime lens
  • Using my USB microscope
  • Timelapse
  • Motion blur
  • Black & white

I’ve put these into my calendar, and hopefully it will spur me on to improve my photography skills and boost my portfolio. I’ll try to post any good photos I manage to take…