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Sue's story: 'Newfound sense of awareness'

For me it is a very important part of my week, and I don’t know what I’d do without it.  It’s a way to get away from the roles that I participate in in life, as a carer and working, and it gives me a sense of time for distraction.

I came to know about the group through my friend, she had been involved in it for several months. It was advertised to me as a wellbeing experience for my mental health and indeed I benefitted greatly in terms of this. I joined about halfway into the first lockdown, and it very quickly became apparent that what I was learning, what I was finding out gave me a lot of reassurance about the pandemic and how things were.  It gave me a sense of finding out a lot more things about nature, about wildlife, and it gave me the sense that we should be more involved in these things, we should all be educated in these things, we have to know more of what’s going on if we’re to save the planet, and prevent another pandemic.

I think what I’ve learned the most is about animals and knowing what is in my local area.  I’ve been so amazed at what I’ve found out about what’s around about me.  On one of the walks we found a badgers set.  It’s something I’d never known about, and it was amazing to be there and think oh gosh this is in the area, this is in my area you know, the sense of knowing where wildlife was round about me. You know you come down here and you can see the birds and things, but to know of so much else and to even be aware of what’s in my own garden now. This year has been fantastic, feeding the birds and finding out all the different species that have come into my garden. I even had a sparrowhawk come into the garden one day, it was just amazing because I have this newfound sense of awareness. I’ve said to people it’s so… nourishing to do this.

For me going forward, I do want to give back and I have a special place that I always go to, so I’m hoping that when I’m retired, and I have more time, that’s something I want to do. I’ve always been a person that’s walked, went on countryside walks, I’ve always enjoyed that, and I just want to do more of that now. 

So for me this has been so important, I think as well, to carry it into the next generation. I have a new wee great-nephew, he’s only 3 and I have a sense of buying things for him that will give him knowledge, books that will give him knowledge of wildlife, things that he can do. I’ve bought him a birdwatchers set. I just want to be able to give all that I’ve learnt to him, to pass it all onto him. And to people I know and work with or people around about me, I say to them you know you really have to look at what’s around about you, you have to think about the planet, we really have to be more aware and more involved. And as for living in Scotland, there’s so much around about us, we have such a rich and diverse country and I think it would be important that it is part of education in school, it’s part of everything, it should be part of our leisure and social… Kids in school should be able to come out and do these walks, it’s very important to start even from nursery, and to have something like this as part of everyday life. 



This is part of the project 'Stories of nature connections' (

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Active Project


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Printed from /research/projects/sues-story-newfound-sense-awareness on 01/12/23 10:14:11 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.