Reflections on Team Wilder during lockdown

A day at Swanwick © Gemma Paul

As lockdown restrictions ease, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on how much Team Wilder has grown literally and figuratively in the last three months. Far from losing momentum, Team Wilder has gone from strength to strength- we're so proud of how far we've come and are looking ahead to a bright, green future.

As lockdown restrictions start to ease up and some sense of normality returns as we go back to doing things we used to love, -albeit with social distancing measures- I wanted to take some time to reflect on Team Wilder, how we have adjusted to the pandemic, and how much we have grown in the last three months.

Our Team Wilder Facebook group has grown over 300% in the last three months and people are posting pictures of the wildlife they are seeing, giving one another advice on gardening for wildlife, and sharing ideas on what actions can be taken towards nature’s recovery. The amount of community spirit and love for all things wild on the group has been absolutely amazing.

Here are just a few activities that our Team Wilder members have gotten up to during lockdown.

Mandy built a wildlife pond

Mandy said, " We didn’t have to wait long for the wildlife to start using our pond. Before we had even added the plants in, the pigeons had moved in for a communal bath. Within a month the plants are looking established, some have flowered and we have regular daily visits from all types of birds (drinking and bathing), and our first blue damselfly. We’ve seen an increase in hoverflies and other small insects, and our cat uses it as his personal giant water bowl!

This is part of an overall project to attempt to rewild our Urban garden that’s only approx 16x8m, and encourage more insects, pollinators and other wildlife.''

Mandy also built a bug hotel

Heather dug a mini pond

Heather wrote on Facebook: ''Today's afternoon project, to turn an old washing up bowl in to a nature pond. The only thing I had to purchase was the oxygenating plant. So happy with the result, now all I have to do is wait and see what decides to move in!!''

People are experimenting with wildflower meadows

Anne said, "I have managed to talk my husband into leaving the meadow untouched apart from single width mowings. We now have endless grasses, cow parsley, ox eye daisies and many more flowers. It has been a real treat; I call it my birthday present as I know my husband in the past has been horrified at the thought of leaving grass unmowed.

The "swamp" which is the water spring has also taken on a new life. It seems Covid-19 has had some positive outcomes. There are newts by the score - unfortunately I cannot cope with them, but my husband enjoys watching them."

Nature swap tables are trending

As garden centres closed and the number of people gardening rose, there sometimes weren't enough plants to go around. Then, people started posting on Facebook about how they were sharing seeds, plants, and soil which inspired so many more community groups to start something similar.

Sarah wrote on Facebook, ''Inspired by Wilder Portsmouth, Wilder Hyde held a successful Nature Swap on 4 roads. Lots of people were involved. Next we are doing a wildlife art competition for all ages to display in their windows.''

Children got involved in a Nature Frame competition

Team Wilder member and Wildlife Watch volunteer, Mathilde, ran a Nature Frame competition inviting children from all over Hampshire and Isle of Wight to participate. Click on the images to find out how they did.

Gemma's imagination for arts, crafts, baking, and making shows no limits

Gemma said ''We love Team Wilder's shared love of nature and passion for conservation. Everyone shares ideas, information, and beautiful photos. It’s nice to be part of such a positive community during lockdown.''

Read Gemma's blog on creating nature art frames.

Read Gemma's blog on her visit to Swanwick lakes.

Mathilde has been surrounded by goldfinches and gardening

Mathilde said, "Golfinches helped me to stay positive during lockdown. I have learnt to recognise his particular song, and my toddler can recognise them outside and on a bird ID book. Now, after lockdown has eased, every time I see a goldfinch in the street (and there are many actually!), it reminds me about this time in the garden, taking the time observe and learning about this bird.

Being part of Team Wilder was also an important part of me keeping positive through looking at beautiful pictures and reading anecdotes and findings that people shared online. I have learnt a lot thanks to this group! Also, thanks to this group (and also "Incredible Edible Portsmouth UK group),  Gardening was one of the highlight of this (sometimes challenging) period as well: I have spent hours planting vegs and flowers and looking after them."

Jeff filmed some hedgehogs

Keen Team Wilder member, Jeff, has been having a lot of fun filming the nightlife drama of his neighbourhood hedgehogs.

© Jeff Pike

© Jeff Pike

And Jill's been losing herself in nature

Jill says, ''I've spent time with this oak on Peartree Green Local Nature Reserve most days. I'm lucky to live a three-minute walk away, and losing myself in nature has been a wonderful antidote to these strange times.''

Light streaming through branches of oak tree

© Jill Doubleday

That's a wrap on the most recent Team Wilder activity. I hope I can give you another update in a couple of months time and see where we are then! In the meantime, please find Team Wilder on the following pages:

Our Website

On Facebook

Give us a follow and get in touch at wilder@hiwwt.org.uk!

Wilder Future team walking into sunset

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