Eco-anxiety teaching resource
Connect with nature
Explore the benefits that interacting with the environment can have to our wellbeing while building a habitat for nature.
- Practical activity
- Disasters and emergencies
Connect with nature
Eco-anxiety in young people is on the rise. Eco-anxiety is the feeling of distress and unease caused by concerns about the impact climate change is having on our planet. It can often leave you feeling sad, overwhelmed, and powerless. So how can we cope with eco-anxiety?
Connecting with nature and taking time to notice all the biodiverse types of plants and animals surrounding you can help relieve anxious feelings.
Biodiversity is the term we use for all the different types of life you can find in a particular area. Making positive steps to learn outdoors and improve biodiversity in an area encourages life to thrive, and can help you maintain your connection to nature. In turn, you can reduce feelings of eco-anxiety.
Building a habitat for wildlife can be a great way to help encourage a biodiverse area. See below for fun outdoor learning resources.
Activity 1: Bumble bee bar
Bees are very busy indeed, with some workers flying up to 5 miles away from their hive to find the very best pollen to take back to their queen. This is very thirsty work so why not help them keep hydrated by creating a bumble bee bar.
What you'll need:
- a shallow watertight container - this will be your Bumble bee bar
- some pebbles, stones, marbles, sticks or similar
Bumble bee bar instructions
- Fill your container with water, collected rainwater will do nicely. Bees don’t really like fresh tap water as they are more likely to be drawn to water that smells earthy or salty. So, if you’re using tap water then just sprinkle some salt into it and give it a mix.
- Bees can’t land on the surface of the water, so to stop them going for an unexpected swim we need to give them surfaces to land on. Take the rocks, pebbles or marbles and place them into the container so they out of the water's surface. These will be the stools that the bees will land on to have a drink.
- It is best to leave your bee bar in a quiet area of your garden and, even better, put it near plants and flowers that bees like to visit.
- It may take some time for the bees to find the drinking spot, but once word spreads through the hive that there’s a new hip bar in town, they’ll be drinking shoulder to shoulder at your premises.
- Did you know that bees communicate by dancing? They will move and gesture in a way that will direct others to the best places to drink and gather pollen.
- To refill your bar, you don’t need to dump out the water, just refill it with fresh water and let the excess spill over the top. This will rinse out any dirt or debris from the water.
- The bees will thank you by pollinating your flowers and helping your garden to grow and thrive.
Activity 2: Creepy crawly campsite
Other ways you can improve biodiversity in your green spaces is to create spaces for invertebrates and other creatures to live in. A bug hotel is a great way to get insects into your garden. A bug hotel is a structure with lots of cool damp spaces for insects and animals to call home.
Building a bug hotel is a fun and environmentally friendly project that provides shelter for a variety of beneficial insects. These insects can play a crucial role in pollination and maintaining a healthy garden ecosystem. Follow the steps below for inspiration to build your very own creepy crawly campsite.
Here is an example list of materials you could use depending on how creative or complex you want to be:
- wooden pallets
- straw or hay
- old terracotta pots
- nails, screws, or wire for assembly
- hammer and nails or a screwdriver
Creepy crawly campsite instructions and tips
Choose a suitable location for your bug hotel. It should be in a quiet corner of your garden, away from direct sunlight and heavy rain, as many insects prefer sheltered spots.
Design the structure:
Decide on the size and design of your bug hotel. You can use a wooden pallet as a base or build a simple frame using scrap wood. The structure can be as simple or as complex as you like.
Prepare the habitats:
Tightly bundling bamboo canes and hollow sticks together will provide nesting spaces for solitary bees and other insects.
Drilling holes of various sizes into logs or wooden blocks will attract solitary bees, beetles, and other small creatures.
Placing , pieces of bark, and straw in different compartments create hiding spots for insects like ladybugs and spiders.
Stack old terracotta pots to create cozy spaces for insects that prefer darkness and moisture.
Stacking these materials in layers or arranging them vertically will be the ‘rooms’ for your bug hotel. Use nails, screws, or wire to secure everything in place, making sure the materials are packed tightly to prevent them from falling out.
Bug hotels require minimal maintenance, but it's a good idea to check for signs of insect activity from time to time. Replace any worn-out materials and clean out compartments if necessary.
Once your bug hotel is set up, observe the insects that move in and enjoy the activity of your new neighbours. You'll likely see bees, beetles, ladybirds, spiders, and other fascinating critters making their homes in your bug hotel.
Remember that bug hotels take time to attract residents. It might take several months for insects to discover and move into your bug hotel, so be patient and enjoy the process of creating a welcoming habitat for these minibeasts.
If you don’t have a green space where you can build your own mini beast habitat, why not ask your friends and neighbours if you can use their garden. Or you could ask your teachers at school if your class could build one of these spaces in the playground.
If you make a Bee bar or Creepy crawly campsite then send us a picture. Tag @britishredcross in your photos on social media. We would love to see all the biodiverse minibeasts you have in your green spaces.
DIY habitat photo credit: Derick Hudson (Getty)