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A Fabulous Year of Nature Hunting

Late in 2014 I started an awesome adventure, during which I have learned so much. I've had a great time and I hope I have shown lots of people that nature is beautiful and fascinating, which is one of the reasons I set out to do this. It’s so much fun to do and feel that I've accomplished so much in doing it.

So what did I do?

Well, after being lucky enough to be in the Autumnwatch Unsprung audience at RSPB Leighton Moss, I decided to do a blog. I watched the 100 days of nature feature and thought I could do something similar. Basically people were going out and taking photos in the 100 days leading up to Autumnwatch. So, as I had a nice little camera I started taking it with me on my regular walks with Mum and Dad. I decided to do a blog about nature every day for a year.


Most days whenever I go walking I try to take photos of anything, big or small that I come across. I try to get unusual shots and I have something I do called the ‘Bug’s Eye View’ in which I use the flip screen on my camera to get right in the face of the bug, lizard or any other creature that I find, without actually disturbing it and getting some pretty detailed shots. I put my photos alongside facts I research on whatever species I had find into my blog.


What happened next?

I started off not expecting any interest at all but after several weeks and, introducing Twitter into the equation, my views steadily increased, and it spurred me on through the year.


I also started to meet lots of great nature people through this too. One of the first things I went to was the “Birders Against Wildlife Crime” conference as I won a ticket after writing an article about how littering harms wildlife. I met some great people there including Mark Avery, Charlie Moores and Chris Packham as well as young naturalists Finlay Wilde, Georgia Locock and Sophie Bagshaw.


I became involved with some of my local wildlife organisations too. I’m now a Tansy Beetle Champion, growing Tansy plants ready to plant out and help this amazing beetle, which lives mainly only around the banks of the river at York. I also volunteer with my Local Nature Reserve, Nosterfield, and through this I have been able to do lots of moth trapping and bird ringing. There are other activities I’ve done too that anyone can do at any time if they want to, such as 2 minute beach cleans – it’s scary how much you can collect in such a small amount of time, but it just shows how much you’re helping sea-life.

Spreading the word


Something else totally amazing is that I have been in the local newspaper and on the radio talking about my blog. Not only was this great as I’d never done radio before, it also meant I got the opportunity to tell more people about how great nature is! Some of my friends are keen to come out exploring with me now too.


During the year I learnt a lot about how important it is to protect nature and I even wrote to my MP, the Education Secretary and the Prime Minister about this. I got letters back from them all but not quite as supportive as I had hoped so I feel more letters coming on in 2016.


The last thing I want to mention is that I have been completely blown away by all the support I had, it was amazing! If you look at my posts for Day 366 and day 367 you’ll see some of the amazing comments I got from people when I finished my year. That was great but I got another surprise too - I won BBC Wildlife Magazine Junior Blogger of the Year.


You can do it too!


That was an amazing year but anyone could do it. Yes, it’s hard at sometimes to find time but it was so rewarding. I learnt loads and met amazing people. I’m not stopping either!. I’ve set some challenges for 2016 too. I might not blog everyday now but I will be trying to get to as many Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves as I can. I’ll focus on North Yorkshire first and I’m pretty sure I’ll get to all of those, then I’ll go further afield and I’ll go to local nature reserves too when I find them. I’m also going to see how many Red List bird species I can see. I’ve researched this and this might be tougher so I’ll see how I get on.


Check out my blog here from time to time and see how I get on.


You can also support me by voting for me in the UK Blogger Awards! I’ve entered into the Green & Eco, and Photography, sections. You can vote for me here: http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/ukba2016/my-entry/year-nature


Hope you enjoyed this!


Zach Haynes

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