Face-to-face at last – a big ‘thank you’ to the SE’s volunteers!
If there is one thing that the past eighteen months or so has taught us, it’s that it’s great when you get the opportunity to see your friends ‘in real life’. Though virtual means of communication have been incredibly helpful to keep in touch, there really is nothing like actually being with like-minded people, sharing a joke or two, learning something new and maybe meeting each other for the first time after months of only seeing a face on a computer screen.
Some of the South East region’s team enjoyed the chance to do just that at its flagship ‘Volunteer thank you and networking’ event for 2021, held at Surrey’s beautiful Langley Vale Wood on Thursday 2nd September. Around thirty volunteers and staff met to enjoy the site and each other’s company for a packed programme, which saw attendees taking part in guided walks with some of Langley Vale’s experienced and knowledgeable group leaders, taking in features including ancient woodland, sculptures to commemorate the area’s association with WWI and the Sainsbury’s Community Orchard, amongst other parts of this special place.
Dr Kate Lewthwaite, Citizen Science Manager, also spoke about the work her team undertakes, such as Nature’s Calendar, Observatree and the Ancient Tree Inventory, following which the volunteers headed off to measure the trees surrounding them and look for tree pest and diseases with Observatree volunteers, Stephen and Richard, just in time for lunch!
The afternoon continued with a most tranquil activity – green sketching, led by local artist, Claire Chandler. Those wielding their artistic flair expressed the joy of their surroundings armed with charcoal and water colour pencils to produce some truly outstanding results! Inner creativity was most certainly unleashed!
To every person across the region who has given time and been so dedicated in what have been unprecedented times, we cannot thank you enough. We can’t wait to plan more events in the coming months and year ahead so please don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for details!
Thank you to Sainsbury’s for sponsoring the event and providing food and refreshments on the day.
Words: Anna Claxton, Volunteer Development Officer, South East
Pics: Anna Claxton and Lucy Shea, Volunteer Development Officers, South East