Welcome to our 2015 Advent Calendar series (#AFONAdvent)! For each day in the lead-up to Christmas, we have a post from an A Focus On Nature member on this year’s Advent theme: “The Gift of Giving”. We hope that you enjoy the series and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Up until very recently I hadn’t really realised how much nature had given me, or even how much I had given back. It’s a strange thing to think about and I’m not a very profound person. But now that I have thought about it…whoa!
I am going to be telling you about how I’ve been given the gift of the gift, but also how I’m giving gift back.
I don’t know an exact time or date that I became enthralled by nature but I know that there are a few people I have to thank for giving me the bug. Firstly my family. Both sets of my grandparents loved nature, particularly birds. I used to love leafing through all their old bird guides and wondering what I might see out of their windows. My parents aren’t out and out nature people, sure they love being outside but they aren’t really keen on knowing the exact names of creatures BUT they did buy a fantastic house for us to live in for 20 years. It was just a plain, terraced house but the view! Luckily for me (and I don’t say this too often) I had an older sister and a younger brother and along with my parents we lived in a three bedroom house…so me and my sister got to share the master bedroom. It looked out over a rough field off unkempt meadow, to the left was the Kone Vale, a part meadow, part woodland route to the main road (which I walked along pretty much every day) and to the right was a grazed meadow with a nice meander of the River Stour. It was amazing! Directly opposite my window, at the back of the unkempt meadow was a dead old tree, and it was a favoured spot for a variety of birds. Without their choice of house, I may never have loved nature as much as I do.
So those are the main people that gave me the gift. Obviously there were the TV shows and presenters too but I didn’t know them and I guess they just fed the gift rather than gave it.
But now is the super fun part – I have been giving back to nature for a number of years now by volunteering and through my career choices. But recently I have given a great opportunity to really give back what nature has put in. My new job is going to allow me to encourage various demographic groups to discover the natural green spaces where they live and also to encourage them to care for and take pride in these areas. This is something I feel really strongly about. How are we to look after our local green spaces if we don’t feel pride for them? So now I get to go out, meet new people and encourage them to love being outside and nature as much as I do! Plus one of the volunteers is an excellent baker. YES! – If any of you guys live in Leicester, and what to a) come and volunteer with us or b) just want to come and sample the cake, let me know!
Nature really is the best. It can render you surprised, overjoyed and excitable but it can also make you upset, disappointed and irritable, but however it makes you feel, you have to hand it to it – – it really is the best gift you can be given or that you can give!