Welcome to February – traditionally our coldest month, and an important time to lend a helping hand to our wildlife.

Towards the end of Winter, many natural food sources start to dwindle; berries and seeds have been eaten or begun to rot, insects have died or are hibernating and our birds and mammals need extra energy to keep warm as the temperatures plummet. See the Wildlife section on our ‘In the Garden’ page for advice on feeding visitors to your garden.

As water sources freeze, it’s also important to provide fresh water for wildlife. If you have a garden pond and it freezes over, make a hole in the ice as toxic gasses can build up may kill any fish that are hibernating at the bottom. To create a place a pan of hot water on the surface of the ice. Never break the ice with force or tip hot water into the pond as this can harm or even kill the fish living there.

Valentine’s Day brings some warmth, as we celebrate love and friendship. However you celebrate, spare some of that love for our planet. If you exchange gifts there are some things to bear in mind. Your card can be recycled if you avoid foils and glitter. If you are buying jewelry consider vintage pieces rather than new.

Valentine’s Day probably isn’t the best time of year to buy flowers for a loved one. The flowers will likely have been grown in heated greenhouses before being transported to the UK. On a positive note some florists are replacing cellophane wrapping with packaging made from recycled paper and ribbons for a more sustainable option.

Manufacturers often go overboard on the packaging for those heart shaped valentine chocolates so a simple box is the better option. Even better, put aside time to make something for your loved one – this is the greenest way to express your love and consideration. 

February gets its name from the Latin word ‘februum’ which means purification. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the end of the month marks the beginning of lent, a time when people traditionally fasted and now more commonly abstain from a damaging habit or indulgence. So if you are planning to give something up for lent, maybe this year you could choose something that will help the planet. Perhaps give up eating meat or convenience food, avoid single use plastics or even driving your car.