The post below has been copied from the Fairburn page. All blogs will now be posted here, on the Aire Valley page.

From 29/03/2020

'Hello bloggers,

Firstly, I want to pass on the Aire Valley Team's best wishes to all of you sat at home, although times like this feel unnatural, awkward and frustrating at times to nature and wildlife lovers, we will get through this as a community. We are always happy to be contacted in any way to help you and keep us all healthy and together.

So, following the last update a little over a week ago, a lot has happened. At the time of writing this, we have taken the difficult but necessary decision to close our nature reserves including car parks, however public footpaths and rights of way are of course still accessible. This means only local visitors who can partake in their daily exercise on foot can visit the reserves, but we would like to remind people to practice social distancing and consider minimising their contact with others as much as reasonably possible. As in my previous blog, I recommend following our social media channels for the latest and most up to date responses regarding the reserves, so watch those spaces.

The workforce in the Aire Valley are busy squirreling away from home, but the contributions from volunteers and members of the pubic give us the strength and sense of community that are of incredible value during this challenging time, so thank you. Thank you as well if you're a member of this organisation, we simply cannot function without the generous support of all of you. To give added value and increased relatability, we thought of giving a short introduction on some of our roles in the Aire Valley in future blogs. Our Assistant Warden at Fairburn, Rachael Tulloch had this message to give us hope for when things finally get a back to normal:

'Hello, I’m Rachael, the Assistant Warden at Fairburn Ings. My job is to carry out practical habitat management and infrastructural tasks on the reserve with the help of my teams of experienced and skilled volunteers. If you are a regular visitor to Fairburn you may have seen us running around the place with hammers and pitchforks and wheelbarrows full of stuff. Being such a popular reserve, the paths, hides and facilities get a lot of use, which means there’s always a lot to repair, however my favourite work is out in the wider reserve, carrying out woodland, reedbed and island management.

Obviously I’m stuck at home like most of us at the moment but fortunately I’m not twiddling my thumbs. I have a huge backlog of reading and learning to do that will feed into next year’s work plan. I’m often busy when I’m out on the reserve but I always love saying a quick hello, so when we’re allowed back outside please do look out for me and let me know if you’ve seen a broken bit of fence or a fallen tree. I’ll stick it on my work list and get round to doing it as soon as I can!'

We have had some fantastic offers of support towards our blogs, so follow the Aire Valley page if you haven't already for more content as we get deeper into isolation. Hopefully we can bring some normality back with some engaging, exciting and cheerful content in future and we have a couple of ideas already in the pipeline. If you'd like to contribute, no matter how big or small, if you have an idea, please send it to me at Alex.Wilson@RSPB.ORG.UK and I can help anyone who fancies getting involved.

Lastly, a poignant contribution from one of our St Aidan's volunteers Janice Simpson, who shared:

'I am reminded of the words of Dennis Potter, the playwright, who, on his deathbed observed that the world had acquired a heightened intensity. “ At this season, the blossom is out in full now….and instead of saying ‘Oh that’s nice blossom’…I see it is the whitest, frothiest, blossomest blossom that there ever could be….Things are both more trivial than they ever were, and more important than they ever were…. The newness of everything is absolutely wondrous….the glory of it…the comfort of it, the reassurance…”.

 

 I was in the front garden, which looks out onto a moderately busy road. At the moment, with the lockdown, there is very little traffic. There are trees right across the road where birds perch and in Spring, they sit on the branches and sing their hearts out. But it is often drowned, or diluted, by the traffic noise. A robin sat on a branch and sang loud and sweet and clear. My dog was in the garden and she stopped and looked up at the tree, looking for the source of the noise: so clear it was, cutting the air with its beautiful sound. It was the sweetest, most melodic, songiest song that there ever could be! In the midst of this unprecedented threat that faces us, nature continues to enthral and sooth us, with its comforting predictability as it responds to the seasons.'

Thank you all, stay safe and be good,'

Alex Wilson - Visitor Experience Manager, RSPB Aire Valley Reserves

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