Reflections on Earth Day

Bee fly on blossom by Sue Barnard

Sue Barnard from our Corporate team considers how important nature is in this time of crisis - and how you can get your workplace involved, even if you're working from home.

Nature isn’t the first thing you associate with a global pandemic. But since lockdown and in these times of uncertainty, we’re seeing how many people are turning to it. Whether it’s birdwatching from the garden, wildlife gardening, or enjoying nature whilst out on daily local exercise, it seems that many people are immersing themselves in the natural world, in some way, to help them cope with this awful coronavirus crisis.

Of course, there is a huge body of evidence that nature is good for mental health. It can help lower stress levels, reduce blood pressure and generally boost wellbeing. Many people at this time of crisis are turning to nature for solace. Given they are not able to socialise with friends, go to the gym or the usual social activities that they would normally do, they are focusing on what’s closer to them. It might be just listening to bird song now there’s less traffic noise or observing butterflies seeking wildflowers for nectar, or watching birds fly overhead. It seems that as the country faces this crisis, people are appreciating nature far more.  

Since we’ve been under lockdown and forced to work at home, my colleagues and I have certainly noticed how we’ve all slowed down somewhat. We’re taking much greater notice of the plants, insects and birds in and around our own gardens. I’ve also noticed that there are far more insects buzzing around on the uncut grass verges, I can hear much more bird song now without the usual background drone of distant traffic and the night skies seem so much clearer.

Wildlife Gardening at Work Awards

Last year, I wrote my first ever blog about our Corporate Wildlife Gardening at Work Awards. At the time, I had no idea that a year on we’d be having to change our Awards’ categories to cater for employees working from home because of a global pandemic and a lockdown. We’re very much hoping over the next couple of months companies will work with their employees to submit team entries and share their photos and progress with us via our social media platforms @wildlifebcn on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Downing College's bug hotel

Downing College's bug hotel

Last year Downing College, Cambridge won the best use of recycled materials for their very impressive bug house. But there’s no reason why individual employees couldn’t create something similar for their garden at home and maybe install at a garden at work once they’re out of lockdown. Or maybe just submit a sketch of a bird they’ve spotted flying overhead.  Whether it's a wildlife sighting from the window, a home you've built for wildlife big or small or a garden transformation into a nature haven, it all counts and it all helps the wildlife close to you.

Some of my colleagues and I at the Wildlife Trust have been running our own mini challenge since lockdown by doing our own wildlife sightings challenge. It’s been a great way to help us feel connected both to nature and as a team whilst we can’t meet in person or get to our favourite nature reserves.

Getting involved

We’re sharing with our members how company employees can get involved with challenge events and activities during lockdown such as building your own mini ‘bucket pond’ and setting up some virtual networking and activities for our corporate supporters. You can find lots of tips and tricks about Wildlife Gardening online, and we've also put together a booklet packed full of resources to help workplaces get involved.

We’re very grateful to all our corporate supporters for their ongoing support through this crisis which is so vital for our charity and its work protecting local wildlife and nature reserves. It’s absolutely crucial that we all work together to help nature’s recovery. 

Nature needs us now more than ever. More importantly we need it. This crisis should be showing us, amongst other things, that we can’t return to business as usual once we’re through the other side. Nature is fundamental to our own health and wellbeing and it needs to be central to the way we live our lives.

If you’d like to find out more about the work of the Wildlife Trust or how we can help your company during this crisis and beyond then we’d love to hear from you.

Get involved

Wildlife Gardening at Work Awards

All categories now open to home-workers' gardens!

Find out how to take part

Robert Enderby