TCV at home: How we’re staying connected to nature

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Across our social media, we have been sharing ways to stay connected to nature at home during this period of physical distancing.

Physical distancing has also meant that many of us are now working from home. For a lot of our team, working outdoors in the fresh air and with nature is the norm.

We have asked our TCV across the UK how they have adjusted to working from home, and how they are staying connected with nature at this time.

From working near a window to bird watch, taking the dog for a walk in a park where calves have just been born, and even naming a local fox, our team are taking advantage of their local green spaces and gardens.

Sara Harrison – TCV Operations Leader (London – Kings Cross)

I don’t have access to a garden but I’ve been enjoying playing ‘spot the fox’ every day from my new home desk next to a window look at my neighbour’s garden.

This fox (I’ve nicknamed her Joan!) follows the sun round the garden all day and makes me very jealous that I’m not outside.

My house plant collection has also been getting much more attention at the moment as well – good time for some propagation and re-potting!

Mark Slater – Head of Information Technology (Central Services – Doncaster)

I am lucky to have a small office overlooking our garden which we as a family have been spending a lot of time in during the current period of lockdown.

Outside of TCV, I volunteer for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service as a community first responder. After a particularly long day in the home office or after returning from a difficult call, there is nothing better I find for my mental health than going for a walk in nature and in the fresh air.

This video was shot on a return from a call I attended recently, it shows to me that we are all together in this as one community sharing the world.

Joanne Smith – TCV Senior Warden (London – Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park)

Although I carry out site checks on some days, I mostly work from home at the moment. My desk is a dining room table but I have a view of my indoor plants and my small garden.

I live in a really built up area very close to a noisy railway track but I am really lucky to have access to a garden.

Though small, I have stuffed the garden full of plants and mini container ponds, even digging up the lawn to add more herbs and flowers. My newly painted rocking chair is my relaxation space!

I really miss the park and our volunteers but in my spare time I do a bit of gardening therapy and am gradually planting up a neglected communal area nearby.

Kirsty Crawford – TCV Project Officer (Glasgow)

Here are a few photos of my border terrier Finn and what we see on our daily dog walk.

Lots of blossom around Glasgow and we’re lucky our local park within walking distancing has a heard of Highland Cows who have just had their calves.

We’re keeping active every day and looking out for local wildlife to record so we keep up with the Citizen Science elements that I usually look after under the Scotland Counts project. Engaging with nature each day on the dog walk is a nice way to adjust to working from home!

Ruth Gerrard – TCV Development Manager

I usually work from home anyway, but have had to move my workspace into the bedroom whilst my toddler is off nursery. Feels very leafy with the trees outside.

I have also finally got around to putting up the flatpack greenhouse we bought last year, with lots of veg and flowers growing.

We’ve also dug up part of our lawn for growing vegetables. First in are the courgettes!

Michelle Crozier – HR Advisor (Central Services – Doncaster)

I do feel rather lucky to be surround by beautiful open spaces and such picturesque scenery. I have been sharing my ‘home office’ with my daughter’s ‘classroom’.

Our daily walks have been our saviour. Being in the house all day, every day is something we (like most others) are certainly not used to! My girls are swimmers with Rotherham Metro, they go kickboxing and on top of school each day, they lead very busy lives.

The walks we have, saying ‘hello’ to the cows and being able to wander around such fabulous spaces with little or no fear of running into anyone else to have to practice social distancing, has been the one thing I am truly grateful for.

The lovely weather means we’ve been able to appreciate the sights we have on our doorstep, and will continue to do so much more long after all this is over.

Samantha Woods – TCV Team Leader (Leicester)

The Leicester Food Growing Community Support programme is continuing to thrive during the lockdown.

I recently launched a ‘Garden Chats Phoneline’ so that all the groups I usually support in the community can stay in contact and share their stories or get answers to thorny gardening queries.

At lunchtime, I take a walk in the nearby Arboretum and watch spring unfold. The latest flower to blossom on the woodland floor is Lady’s Smock (or Cuckoo Plant). When I’m not at the computer, my workspace is used for seed sowing and potting on the plants that feature in the Lockdown Garden.

Hazel Smoczynska – TCV Administrator (Leeds – Hollybush)

I brought some plants from Hollybush back with me to make my home office greener and it’s really been appreciated by the local wildlife.

Maria Schlatter – TCV Senior Project Officer (London – Camden)

This week, I have moved my home desk away from the wall to face the garden instead. Saving the daily 2+ hour commute is a bonus and this morning I have already spotted jays, two dainty gold finches, tits, and of course loads of grey squirrels and wood pigeon waiting for spills on the ground.

It’s also very important for your eyesight to gaze at longer distance objects away from the screen every so often!

We’ve changed our weekly volunteer newsletter to a twice weekly ‘virtual Camden Green Gym session’ newsletters, which aim for volunteers to remain part of Camden Green Gym in spirit until nature conservation sessions return.

Our volunteers have also been sending us pictures and stories both from their local excursions on foot or bicycle, as well as updates on their lives in lockdown.

Our team has set up a private WhatsApp group to keep in touch with each other and we are haring our indoor/outdoor garden projects, as well as favourite board games, musicals and cook efforts.

Debbie Murrary – TCV Senior Project Officer (Norwich)

I spend time in my garden to connect with nature, and enjoy the wildlife to comes to it.

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