Welcome back, an update from our Regional Director
There is no denying we have experienced the most unusual six months. I hope you have managed to stay well and keep safe during these unsettling times.
During lock down our woodlands remained open for local people to take their daily exercise, and we know that sites have been discovered by locals that never previously ventured into the woods. During that time to keep our staff, volunteers and contractors safe, the Estate was left largely untended apart from for essential safety work. Unfortunately we have also had to deal in the South East with an increased level of criminal activity and antisocial behaviour in our woods. Thank you for staying safe when you visit the woods, and for continuing to be the ‘eyes and ears’ for your local sites, which is a great help in reporting activity to us.
We welcome our new visitors to our woods and hope that they have been able to connect with nature, trees and woods, and find comfort in the natural world. I personally have been honing in on my botanical knowledge during this time and have very much enjoyed spending Sunday nights following #wildflowerhour on Twitter.
As we ease our lives back into a different normal, the focus for the region remains on estate management, our advisory work with woodland owners and continuing projects that have been delayed due to COVID. This autumn woodland management work will resume to restore ancient woodland sites and reduce risks associated with impact of ash die back disease. I’m delighted our National Lottery Heritage Fund project, the Lost Woods of the Low Weald and Downs, has launched and you can read more about the project if you visit here.
Whilst responding to the organisational challenges of working through a pandemic, the nature and climate crises are ever present. It won’t surprise you that the Woodland Trust is considering the balance of our strategic priorities; looking at how we, as an environmental conservation charity, remain a prominent voice in the Government’s response to calls for a green recovery; how we help businesses build greater sustainability into their corporate activities, and how we continue to have impact with our voice for the UK’s woods and trees.
As individual and group volunteering is reintroduced, we thank you for your patience and consideration as we find new and safe ways of working. Volunteers bring passion, specialist skills, their time and commitment to the Trust, and your safety, health & wellbeing will always be our main priority moving forward.
Anna, Lucy and your Volunteer Managers are all here to support you, so please make contact if you have queries, stories to share, or concerns to report.
Thank you for your continued support. It really is a privilege and pleasure to have you on our team!
Regional Director – South East