Every February, for the last 3 years, the RSPB has joined in with the 100+ other organisations that make up The Climate Coalition (of which the RSPB is a founding member) to Show the Love for all the things you care about that are affected by climate change: from coffee to capercaillies, and from your favourite sports to the coastal resorts you like to visit.
Each year many of the organisations have got involved by making hand-crafted green hearts to wear and share. The green heart acts a symbol of the movement. A way to spread the message far and wide that climate change is already affecting the things we love, but that we can do something about it, if enough of us show we care.
RSPB has never really done much with the crafting side of Show the Love, but for February 2017 I decided to give it a whirl, and put the call out to staff and volunteers across the organisation to see if anyone was interested. I honestly only expected a handful of people to get back to me, and just a few hearts to arrive on my desk.
I couldn’t have been more wrong!
(My desk around November last year!)
Not only did more than 50 people get in touch to find out how to get involved, but the hearts started to flood in. It wasn’t long before the arrival of any new package on my desk would draw in a crowd of people from around the office, eager to see the new arrivals.
I lost count in the end, but we must have received close to 500 hearts, if not more! One amazing lady, Wendy Ward, who volunteers in the Volunteering Department at The Lodge made over 200 felt and quilted hearts alone! Others created hearts with the most detailed species on them, and we also received a heart with a huge 3-D hedgehog on!
So what did we do with them all? Some went to The Climate Coalition to use with their celebrity engagement, others went to nature-loving celebrities like Simon Reeve, Gordon Buchanan and Michaela Strachan who posted pictures of themselves wearing their hearts on social media. Many more went to RSPB reserve staff, and even to senior members of staff to wear and share in important meetings with politicians - a perfect opportunity to tell them how RSPB is working hard to not only encourage the government to act to minimise climate change, but also how we are helping nature to thrive and adapt on our reserves.
(Images from Twitter: Simon Reeve, Gordon Buchanan and RSPB President Miranda Krestovnikoff)
Several crafters came back to me afterwards and said how rewarding they had found it, making something for a purpose, not just another cushion to decorate the sofa with. I can honestly say, despite being about as crafty as a brick, it is the most fun I’ve ever had in my job!
The good news is we will be doing it again for Show the Love, February 2018 (and beyond). Given the response of our staff and volunteers, I thought I'd see if any of you would like to get involved with sharing a message of love and hope for the future.
If you are interested, or would like more information, do drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you have the crafting skills to really capture some of our wildlife on a green heart, find out here about the MPs and AMs who act as species champions who we'd love to gift green hearts to.
You never know who could be wearing your heart on their sleeve next year!
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