Blimey. Things have changed, haven’t they? Whether a lesson will be learned in terms of global response to a looming crisis remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Planet Shaftesbury met online, with thanks to Richard Ecclestone for setting it up on soon-to-be-well-subscribed-to ‘app’ ‘Zoom’. (Why the inverted commas? I have recently been described – by someone in my own family no less – as a ‘luddite’, so I’m just being true to form.)
Ten of us got together in this way, mostly familiar faces but we also welcomed Steve from Farrington, who’d been planning to join us had we met at the Town Hall. It’s a tricky thing for a newcomer to sit in as a bunch of us who know each other fairly well hold an online meeting, but we hope to be inclusive - and thanks for bearing with us, Steve, look forward to meeting you again.
At Richard’s suggestion, we followed the format of many XR Zoom meetings, starting and finishing with a check-in on how we were feeling. An informal agenda followed, picking up on the theme of ways to connect with nature locally that we’d intended to explore at the Town Hall meeting; our usual information exchange and a discussion regarding future use of this technology during the C19 crisis.
We were informed about the Biological Records Centre ‘iRecord’ project, which enables participants to photograph and send details to them of species spotted in hedgerows etc. on country walks. For more info go to: https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/
More info about specifically local aspects of this will be posted in the forum shortly – and of course this is something we can all still do, so long as we can get out to explore our environment while maintaining our social distancing.
The Town Council’s experiments with wildflower verges are under way. More info on how you can assist with this to appear on the forum b.t.l., but in the meantime you can assist them in their initiative to cease use of glyphosate by doing a bit of street weeding if you notice where it’s required. We also hope to put some info in the newsletter and on the website about maintenance work going on at Breach Common currently where more volunteers would be welcome. It should be possible to get involved in projects like this one also, maintaining the required distancing but providing some social contact.
Which brings me to the general info exchange and another appeal for volunteers – this time at the Shaftesbury Home Grown Community Farm on Breach Lane. Its workforce has been depleted as some are no longer able to come, but those remaining would like to grow more this year if possible – it will be needed. So to this end another work session has been added there, Wednesday mornings, 10>1. More general details at: https://www.planetshaftesbury.org/homegrown
Much of the remaining information concerned local initiatives to help housebound self-isolators of which there are many. Those in the town can check out the Town Council website for info on shops doing deliveries and phone numbers for people in need of help. They are also keen to recruit volunteers to assist with the additional work this demands.
And on to the technology now (‘luddite’, moi?). It was agreed that we will hold a Zoom meeting weekly 7.30 on Thursdays. All interested in Planet Shaftesbury activities are invited to join us. Please note: you DON’T have to have the Zoom app installed on your equipment to participate. A link will be sent out on the online PS mailing list. Just click on it 7.30pm next Thursday. You’ll arrive at the meeting (lacking only Pat and Arthur’s teas and coffees) and be advised how to then join in as it gets under way. It’s so simple that, at a pinch, even I could do it.
The usual meeting date will be maintained for full blown meetings, the in-between ones will be more informal get togethers. Next one will include a tutorial from Richard if you do want to get Zoom for yourself. I’ll be listening carefully. Sometimes you just can’t avoid the Twenty First Century.
(Apologies for blurred photo below, you can’t make out the faces but it gives you an idea of the group view you can toggle to.)