COVID-19 Update - 17th March

COVID-19 Update - 17th March

By now we are all aware of the severity of Coronavirus and the impact it will have on our lives in the coming weeks and months. We wanted to let you know how we’re dealing with it at Somerset Wildlife Trust.

Dear supporters

By now we are all aware of the severity of Coronavirus and the impact it will have on our lives in the coming weeks and months. We wanted to let you know how we’re dealing with it at Somerset Wildlife Trust.

Safety is our top priority and we are closely monitoring Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates in order to act quickly, and are following advice from the Government and World Health Organisation.

In line with government advice, and to play our part in not spreading Covid-19, we are cancelling all events and volunteer activities until the end of May, and will keep this under review as further advice emerges.  

We will share any updates via our website, as well as using e-news and our social media channels to keep you, our valued members, volunteers and supporters, informed. You can connect on the social media channels via the links below.

Ensuring our members, supporters and visitors to our nature reserves stay safe is extremely important to us, so it was with regret that, following the latest guidelines from the government we have taken the decision to entirely close our Westhay Moor and Catcott reserves. Due to their popularity, particularly at this time of year, they are more likely to bring a larger number of pairs or small groups together - which is contrary to the social distancing advice given by the government. 

Our other reserves will remain open to those local to them for their daily outside excursion, but social distancing guidelines must be observed for the safety of other visitors. We will continue to monitor this and if necessary we will close these also. Our reserves staff are working within the new guidelines and will continue to care for these special places as best they can.

I realise that for many of you, getting out into the natural world is an important part of your life, and these closures will be of great disappointment, but it is vital that the Trust plays its part in keeping members of the public safe and protecting our NHS. Thank you for your understanding.

We are in the final stages of producing the Spring/Summer edition of our members’ magazineSomerset Wildlife, and this should be received by all members by the end of April and will hopefully be a cheerful arrival on your doorstep during a difficult time.

Staying connected to others is important at a time like this. So please don’t forget you have a community of fellow wildlife enthusiasts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to turn to if you need someone to share your latest wildlife experience or photograph with. We would love to hear from you while you self-isolate!

We have also launched #wildlifewindow - a social media campaign where you can do just that. We want you to share what wildlife you can see out of your window whilst in isolation, or what you are doing for wildlife while at home or in your garden - whether that’s getting round to making that hole in your fence for hedgehogs or putting water out for the birds. We all know small things add up, so why not take a look at some ideas to get you going. Wildlife and nature can really help our wellbeing through these difficult times. We look forward to sharing what you see on our channels!

Over the coming weeks we're going to increase the range of resources on our website to give you some inspiration and ideas for what you can do at home to support wildlife in your own garden or outdoor space, large or small. We're including indoor and outdoor activities, crafty things to do to keep the kids entertained, guides to building wildlife homes and putting wildlife features into your gardens - even things you can do from your own armchair! 

We hope that they keep you inspired and connected to wildlife during this time.  Check our website regularly as we will add more as we go - and please share links with others who are looking for things to occupy their time whilst we have so much of it!

We ask that all our supporters, visitors, volunteers and staff take sensible precautions at this difficult time, and respect and support each other. Please look after yourselves and your family, friends and neighbours.

Many of our staff will now be working from home, and this will be the normal working practice until the current emergency passes. This will make it more difficult to respond promptly to email and telephone queries so we would prefer you to email your usual Trust contact or for general enquiries to use than to telephone the office.

Thank you so much for being a supporter of the Trust and Somerset’s wildlife, and for your continued support during these exceptional times.

Georgia Stokes

Chief Executive Officer