Rewilding Sussex has been in existence for close on 5 years. We have seen ups and downs in terms of activity and projects, but as of recently we have been building new momentum and garnering more support for a vision of a wilder future, both for the nature and people of Sussex. The sharing of knowledge and ideas has always been at the heart of our cause, and many of our projects have attempted to encourage learning and teaching about the concepts, practices and science of rewilding in and around Sussex.
Like most organisations, the new year promised to be one of growth and development for Rewilding Sussex. The beginning of 2020 saw the addition of new team members, plans and strategies for an array of projects, and the partnership and alliance of other organisations and individuals who share our vision for a wilder, more natural Sussex. But of course, no one could have predicted what was just around the corner in the form of a global pandemic, and the grinding halt that the whole world was to experience in unison with the onset of Covid-19. We’ve all had to adapt to a new normal, and anything involving other people with face-to-face learning and teaching has not been possible – it’s not the best time to be a part of a community-based organisation with a sudden burst of energy to engage.
However, perhaps in a time where human activity has had to slow down so dramatically, and as lockdown measures begin to ease and more of us will be spending time in gardens or outdoor areas (socially distanced of course), maybe this is actually a good time to be spreading the message of rewilding. As human activity has slowed, wildlife and nature have had a small chance to carry on unhindered.
The current situation, for now at least, has ruled out many ways that an organisation such as Rewilding Sussex will be able to connect with the public, and some of the projects we have had planned will have to be shelved until a later date. But the way we see it, this is not a time to stop or slow down our efforts. If anything, the situation that we now all find ourselves in brings about new opportunities to promote conservation and rewilding.
With a sudden increase in the use of social media and technology that so many will now find themselves participating with, maybe there is now an opportunity to be utilising these tools to further teach and encourage the public, especially younger generations that ordinarily wouldn’t be interested or have access to learning resources. With more people spending times in gardens and green spaces, perhaps there is now a greater interest in wildlife and nature, and a greater desire and appreciation to experience them. There is even a chance that the sudden slowing down of certain elements of human consumption, such as air travel, shopping or eating out, has brought about new found interests in conservation rewilding.
We cannot be certain of the future, and as overwhelming as the whole situation seems at times, we can at least try to help come up with some wild ideas for the new normal. With our team just as committed and enthusiastic as ever, we see these strange times as a new chapter for Rewilding Sussex.
With the addition of a new website and a reworked logo, a new phase for the University of Sussex’s Rewilding Society, as well as a list of current and future projects taking shape, we hope to use this time to inspire and share our message and passion for a wilder Sussex by seeking a wilder future for the benefit of both people and nature.
Written by Bobby Cross