Nature, lockdown and blogs

Stirling NNRs

A guest blog post by Sue Walker who currently writes nature notes for her local village see here.

I love Flanders Moss National Nature Reserve. It has loomed large in my life for over 20 years, yet I only occasionally get to visit it. I know where the adders bask, the best places to see the geese in winter, when the cotton grass is in full bloom. But full disclosure – I know because I’m married to the Site Manager, David Pickett, and usually, when he gets back from work, I hear what’s been happening on the Moss, and all the excitement and challenges that go with looking after one of Scotland’s most important wildlife sites.

Of course that’s not happening in the same way at the moment. Like many people he’s working from home during lockdown, not able to get out to Flanders Moss, or any of the other NNRs he manages, until it’s safe to do so. In the meantime I think this blog has been invaluable in helping keep us all connected to those special places, encouraging us to think about what’s happening there, and why.

Because even though we aren’t there to see it, the seasons will still be turning, the cotton-grass will be coming into flower, the lizards will still be basking on the boardwalk, and the sphagnum moss will, thanks to all the work that has been done to keep the water on the bog, still be growing slowly, slowly deeper. And they will all still need us to care about them, because what we humans do in our everyday lives has a huge impact on the natural world – whether we’re able to see it for ourselves or not. The peat-free compost we decide to buy because we not only know, but care, that peat bogs are irreplaceable, is a perfect example.

So I think keeping blogs like this one going is a really important job, now more than ever. They are like letters from an absent friend, reminding us what it is we love about them, what makes them unique, and of course, making us long to see them again. Though David, and the other NNR staff, can’t work on-site, they are using their knowledge and past experience to bring those sites to us, turning them into old friends. When all this is over, and we can visit them again, it will make the reunion even happier!

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