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Lockdown Diaries - part 1
​Welcome to the first in a series of blogs about how we at Coast Care spent lockdown.

Since coronavirus caused the upheaval of our society in March, many of us have come to value our connection with nature more than ever before. Here at Coast Care has been no different. The team were all furloughed, but that didn’t stop our volunteers from finding ways to connect with and help nature, all while abiding by government guidelines of course! We thought we’d celebrate their ingenuity with a collection of their stories.

First up though, let’s hear from Project Manager Becky: 

Well what a strange and uncertain time it has been for us all! When we ceased all activities in mid-March, the team didn’t know what to expect and how long we would be disengaging.

Personally, furlough gave me some much needed downtime to recover from the dreaded Covid-19, but once I was well and up and about it was quite obvious that Spring had sprung and there was lots to keep me busy! As I ventured out more into the garden everything appeared so much more alive and overgrown from when I had last left it. One of the first thing's I did was to set free the Small Tortoiseshell butterfly I had kept in hibernation in a cardboard box in my outhouse. It had been on my mind while I was ill, as I had found it indoors over winter so was relieved to find it had survived, and left it in the sun one day to give it time to wake up and fly free.

Our garden is very much so a work in progress and surely could be considered for a Coast Care task?!? I now had extra time to get on top of some much needed management and looked at ways to appreciate the surrounding wildlife.

I took part in the ERIC NE City Nature Challenge weekend using iNaturalist and mainly focused on what was growing in my garden. Some colourful species to note: Red Campion, Scarlet Pimpernel, Male-fern, Wood Forget-me-not, Marsh Marigold, Primrose and a gorgeous Dryad's Saddle that I took satisfaction watching grow then rot!

In June I took part in the Wildlife Trust's #30dayswild campaign and posted my activities or interventions on social media every day throughout the month. It was hard work but productive having a daily goal! Some of the highlights were building a woodland style seating area using wood sourced from the garden, creating new wildlife habitats such as a stumpery, making friends with Tyrone the toad, cobbling together a picnic table for the Wood Mice and litter picking from our house into the village. Once we were able to venture further it was great being back out on the beach for walks and breathing in some much needed healing sea air. In particular, we enjoyed a walk around Amble and watching the Arctic Terns fishing in the harbour off the pier and seeing the painted stone snake that the locals had created.

A personal 'lockdown' highlight was hiring a hot tub for my husband's 40th birthday as a surprise as our break away had been cancelled, we enjoyed it with a Running Fox afternoon tea, bucks fizz, late night bat and owl watching and rain that was so heavy it hurt our faces!

View from the hot tub

During this unprecedented time, I've tried to focus on the positives and have loved seeing how other people were connecting to nature too. I hope that this downtime in everyone's lives has given them the opportunity to really appreciate nature and consider how making changes to their lifestyles can assist the environment into the future.

Oh the heavy water how it enfolds

The salt, the spray, the gorgeous undertow 

Always, always, always the sea 

Carrion-British Sea Power

"I met some wonderful people and really felt that my work helped make a difference to my local area."

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