The unfolding signs of spring bring us hope for 2021. First the snowdrops, then the birdsong, crocuses and now daffodils, hazel catkins and sunshine – what a difference in a couple of weeks!
Last year when we first heard of coronavirus we couldn’t have imagined how huge an impact it would have on our lives. Coronavirus did scupper some of our plans, but many people have lost more than the chance to do something worthwhile outside.
We did manage to hold 67 volunteer days over 2020, compared to over a hundred such days that Snowdonia Society volunteers would work over a normal year. Some of the 24 days of conservation work that Snowdonia Society volunteers did at the start of the year include footpath-building near Llan Ffestiniog, tree planting in various locations in Conwy, scrub clearance and fence repairs on nature reserves and woodland maintenance work at the Ugly House.
After the first lockdown, huge numbers of visitors descended on the usual tourist ‘hotspots’, with more first-time visitors from afar who would normally go abroad for their holidays. We are very thankful to the volunteers who joined the ‘Welcome Back’ teams in these areas, patrolling busy areas, advising visitors and collecting a whopping amount of litter (about 540 bags full) over eight intense, three-day weekends. This was a partnership project between the Snowdonia Society, the Outdoor Partnership and the National Park Authority. A big shout out to the amazing Snowdon volunteer wardens too!
It was nice to get back to other conservation activities with volunteers after the summer. We managed another 18 practical conservation days between lockdowns and Christmas, including a beach clean, end of season Snowdon litter pick, collecting lots of acorns which will be grown into trees to plant out across Snowdonia, footpath maintenance and removing problematic Rhododendron ponticum.
Over winter, we would usually have been asking volunteers to help our partner conservation organisations to plant many hundreds or even thousands of trees. A big job – this is why we ask for volunteers! We look forward to when we can get back to giving local conservation organisations a hand. Register now to be a Snowdonia Society volunteer so you’ll be ready to go when volunteering opportunities return. We honed our coronavirus safe ways of working last year, so rest assured that when we can advertise practical conservation days or any events, coronavirus safety will be our top priority.
We wait for the next government update about coronavirus regulations to determine when we can safely meet and work outdoors together. In the meantime, our small staff team are preparing for accredited short courses about conserving Snowdonia that we will be offering to the public – some of which will be available online. We are also working with partners to plan to help the area cope with the numbers of visitors who are likely to flock to the area again this year (similar to last year’s Welcome Back project).
Look out for online talks while we are still staying at home. See our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. Why not become a member to support our charity to continue our work, enabling local people to get involved in practically looking after Snowdonia?