I’d like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to all volunteers across Cumbria, however you get involved in supporting or working with wildlife. We greatly value and appreciate all of your hard work for the natural environment and for the Trust. It’s a vital contribution and without you, the Trust could not achieve its charitable objectives.
I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well in these are extraordinary times. Your health and wellbeing is of the utmost importance and priority for our Chair David Sharrod, for trustees, for me, and everyone at Cumbria Wildlife Trust.
Our thoughts are with all of those who have been infected and suffered as a result of the virus. I also offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have sadly died, in recent weeks. Tragically, we know of several members who have died during the pandemic.
I also have to say that those few of us still working are really missing you and more importantly, so are the nature reserves! I’m sure you’re also missing the opportunity to meet friends and socialise as much as you are the vital conservation tasks that you volunteer to carry out.
Back in March, the decision to cancel all work parties and volunteer activities for the spring and early summer was a really difficult and painful for us. Sadly, we had no choice in the light of Government restrictions and guidance.
We’re now monitoring the situation closely and as soon as any changes to the lockdown restrictions permit, we will resume the work party programme and volunteer activities as soon as possible. No doubt, this will involve some new ways of working to ensure we meet social distancing requirements.
Everyone’s focus for the moment is, quite rightly, on saving lives and fighting the virus, but once this is over, we will need to come back to the other big environmental issues of our time: the climate emergency and the wildlife crisis.
Looking after wildlife and the recovery of our nature-depleted landscapes has never been more important or urgent. This is only possible because of your wonderful work as volunteers.
So, we really do look forward to welcoming you back later this year, hopefully in the autumn. Before Covid-19, we had planned to hold a volunteers' conference. Clearly this is physically not possible for the foreseeable future but if there is interest, we would be keen to look at holding a virtual conference by video conference. I’d be keen to hear your views on this or any other ideas for socially-distant activities that we could put on during lockdown.
In the meantime, we are thinking of all our amazing volunteers and hope you stay safe.
Thank you for everything you do for Cumbrian wildlife and best wishes from everyone at CWT.
Chief Executive Officer
Cumbria Wildlife Trust