By Cate McCurry, PA
Birds and bees are the secret weapons needed to raise happiness levels after Covid, a new Irish company has claimed.
Studies show that increasing people’s connection with nature boosts happiness and that being around more bird species generates as much satisfaction as earning an extra €124 a month.
Residents of even the smallest apartments can boost their mood by using bird feeders and growing wildflowers to attract them.
Julie Power, of Waterford-based firm Connecting to Nature, said: “After lockdown, we now have a new awareness of the mental health benefits of connecting to nature, a renewed interest in our living world and improving our gardens for the benefit and love of wildlife.
“People can now buy a post-lockdown gift of wellness to loved ones by creating a curated native flower and bird feeding oasis in spaces as small as an apartment balcony.
“You don’t have to be in the countryside to connect with nature, all you have to do is create an environment that consistently attracts birds and bees,” said Ms Power, whose family has been in the seed business for six generations.
“Many people are unaware of the correct way to successfully cultivate a wild garden, or that you need to feed birds year round and that they need different food at different times.”
Julie’s great, great, great grandfather William Power opened his first nursery, florist and seed merchant business in Waterford in 1859 and the Power family has operated a successful agricultural seed business since then.
She has already developed a huge following with the Blooming Native wildflower seeds business, which has been the inspiration for combining bird feed and flower seed.
“Sowing wildflower seeds provides a habitat for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, seeds for wild birds, supports and brings us joy,” said Ms Power.
“I have a passion for the environment and I saw this as an opportunity to share how wildflower seeds can play their part in biodiversity and reveal the joy of native wildflowers in our ecosystem.
“We produce our seeds on our own sites in Faithlegg, Co Waterford, and our mixtures are curated to provide both food for wildlife and colour throughout the year.
“It is very easy to get this right, with a bit of instruction.”
Last year researchers using data from the 2012 European Quality of Life Survey released the findings of a study looking at the link between Europeans’ happiness and the species diversity in their surroundings.
“It showed that the happiest Europeans are those who see the most bird species in their day-to-day life,” said Patrick Croke, technical officer at Connecting to Nature.
“Being connected with nature, rather than simply being exposed to it, is about feeling close to the wider natural world and is more important for our mental wellbeing.”