As we come up to International Day of Forests, I thought it would be an idea to reflect on how our woodlands hold so much wonder and curiosity, and how they are beneficial to both people and wildlife.

Take a saunter through the woods and you are immersed in a whole new world, of dappled light, earthy smells, and a variety of colour that could put an artist’s paint selection to shame. Look closer, and see the tiny fungi cups on dead wood, moss like match sticks covering a branch, buds beginning to break out as spring comes ever closer.

You can delve into the sounds of the forest, too: listen to the rain cascading through the leaves, falling softly onto the ground reviving the plants, or to the wind blowing over branches and ruffling your hair. Often, we don’t stop long enough to appreciate these micro feelings and we should.

Spending time in our woodlands is good for us and the longer we stay, the more these magical sites aid in grounding us. Our heart rate calms down, microbes are taken in as we breathe helping to build our immune systems.  Stress levels reduce and a feeling of calm takes over. The longer we remain in the woodland quietly, the more wildlife we will also notice.

Notice how your ears pick up the different bird calls that surround you. You might see deer or a fox scamper into and then out of view, or if you are really lucky, they may remain for a time, curious to the human before them who is so still.

Our native woodlands sustain both us and the wildlife with shelter, food and a refuge to get away from it all. They are worth protecting and restoring, and I’d like to think we have done our part with Creating Natural Connections, restoring native woodlands to provide for people and nature in Cumbernauld for years to come.

Tracy Lambert 

Laura Healy Smith