5 fun ways for families to care for their local wildlife

There are lots of easy activities families can do together to help reduce nature loss in Scotland which is being adversely affected by climate change.


In autumn there’s an abundance of sights, smells, sounds, textures and tastes to tempt you to spend more time being active outside. This is a great time to spot the wildlife that lives along your street, find out more about them and give them a helping hand so they remain your constant companions.

1. Tune into nature 

Find somewhere new to walk or step off your favourite path and spend time looking closely at what is all around you. There might be fallen seeds under trees, glossy spider webs wrapped around bushes, honking geese flying overhead and pigeons preening themselves behind you.

Spending time in nature and noticing the wildlife that lives on your doorstep can make you feel happier. 

2. ID your neighbours

You’ll be surprised who lives on your street and what they get up to when you are not around or asleep. Spotted a bird, bat, or beastie and want to learn more about them? Use an App to record your wildlife neighbours and learn more about the fascinating fellows who live right beside you.

Zepto App
The Zepto App has been developed for NatureScot and is available for iOS with an Android version coming soon.

Tree ID
The Woodland Trust has developed the Tree ID app that can be used to identify native and non-native trees.  By answering simple questions in the App about the leaves, bark, twigs, buds, flowers, or fruit you can identify the tree.  

Google Lens
If you are an android user you can use the Google Lens App to take a photo of a natural object, such as a leaf or a berry.  It will then try to identify the object by comparing it to other pictures in its database.  It’s not 100% perfect but it can be fun to see if it can identify the object.

3. Collect branches and seeds on your walks

Collect sticks from your walks and make a messy branch pile in a shady spot of your garden or local park to attract insects. Hedgehogs, frogs, and birds will love to explore your log pile to gorge themselves on juicy bugs. Find out more about making a log pile.

Collect seeds from under trees on your walks and sow them in clean yogurt pots filled with peat-free compost. Store them in a cool dark cupboard to mimic winter. In spring put them on a windowsill, water them and watch the seeds grow. 

4. Become a scientist 

Taking part in wildlife surveys is a fantastic way to find out and care for Scotland’s wildlife.   

The Hedgehog Street project tracks your sightings of hedgehogs (dead or alive). They are also encouraging everyone to make holes in the bottom of their garden fences to create hedgehog highways. This will allow Scotland’s only spiny mammal to move between gardens and munch beetles and earwigs.

We have lost one-third of our hedgehogs in the UK since 2000 meaning they definitely need us to develop more hedgehog highways. 

NatureScot and TCV Scotland have a list of other science surveys for you to get involved with.

5. Get wild and snappy

Next time you’re out on a walk and you see something that you find interesting take a photograph?  Pictures are a great way to appreciate the world around us – especially during autumn with its rainbow of colours.

Share your photos and #AutumnPathDays activities on social media to get more people caring for Scotland's wildlife and tackling climate change.

NatureScot has more ideas for you to #MakeSpaceForNature in your life.