Wilderness Foundation CEO Jo Roberts reflects on the present – COVID-19 its impacts on the Foundation and her thoughts during this time. Looking to nature as a reprieve and reflecting on what we have and what we can do for others.

It is a boiling hot day and feels like summer and yet it is early April. In my 35 year memory of living in the northern hemisphere it should surely not be this warm? Surely we should experience an early spring chill with a warming sun? Strange times indeed but love and appreciate the warmth and beauty of each precious day I wake up to.

Who could not, when Nature is responding in all her glory with spring flowers and bird song. Just walking across the fields an hour ago, high up in a blue, vapour trail- less sky was a family of buzzards, wheeling and calling and becoming tiny specks as they corkscrewed higher and higher. What wonder and awe as a spectator of these wild creatures in their realm. And what a deep sense of gratitude for nature to continue unabated in changing seasons, albeit out of synch, but in pace and rhythm…grounding us as humans into the cycles of life, whilst juxtaposed with every news bulletin where we mainly talk about death.

We are not inured to this virus yet which is a good thing. The constant reminder of close on 1000 people dying each day for the last couple of days is downright scary and sobering when you consider what that could look like if it carried on that way. Often too much news switches us off and whilst I religiously read the papers every morning on waking up, I am reading less content and skimming more titles whilst still getting the gist of things. Propping this minimal knowledge up with the 10 o’clock news at night has to suffice, otherwise I can feel my spirit sag and it all becomes overwhelmingly depressing. There has to be some melancholy. The stories of suffering and loss and anger and sadness are constant reminders of the raw reality of our current existence.

For those of us lucky to be in the countryside, with gardens and empty nests with more room than necessary, there is almost a sense of unreality. For me there is a sense of guilt mixed with self indulgent relief that we are not in the city and in the thick of potential viral enemies lurking at every turn, or runner’s pant. However, whilst enjoying nature’s bounty of sun and beauty, I am still conscious of how I can possibly help to support others.

Personally at home we have helped out with delivering leaflets to houses, offered our services in a range of networks, staying at socially isolated as humanly possible, being aware and loving to all those around us and taking care of older neighbours and friends – even if just a 2 meter distance door side chat.

At the Wilderness Foundation UK we are damned if we will go down without fighting. So, we industrious and busily writing funding bids, talking to funders and looking at the uncertain future with certainty that our battle will not be fought during 2020 alone but well into 2021 and we need a plan and foresight and strategy.

Our team reduced now to a few warriors on the front line, we are working on a campaign called Covid Nature Care Campaign which includes WildTime.

Here you can find mindfulness, reflective exercises for wellbeing, and activities to do as adults, children and families together to keep you connected with Nature. We also offer our therapy and counselling services now on line and phone…and free mentoring and coaching on line and phone to stay connected and be of service. We are helping a range of young people struggling with their mental health and struggles to make sense of the world around them.

We have been blessed to be part of a national social media campaign called Vitamin N – including WWF, RSPB, Jordan’s Cereals, Wildlife Trusts and a range of other well respected organisations to deliver even more connection to nature and wellbeing support. Search and follow #VitaminN on social media for your daily dose of nature.

Whilst we can and are fit and able our amazing team are doing everything we can, to reach out, support and be there for the community.

At the same time, I am more in touch with my heart that bursts with gratitude than I have felt for a long time. I am so blessed to be well, to have people around me who I admire and deeply love and respect, and an Earth that still is there – even with some of horrendous abuse that has been thrown at her. I relish the articles that the wild life trade is looking to be banned in China and how this could influence surrounding countries, and that we savour our hour of outside space each day in lockdown with the same relish as the weekly sweet shop visit I had as a child.

Take heart, take note of what it is like to live outside the fast lane and stay wild and safe. Let us know if we can help you in anyway.

Jo

CEO, Wilderness Foundation UK

We hope you enjoyed Wilderness Foundations CEO Jo Roberts and her reflection on COVID.

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