I hope everyone has had a good Christmas and New Year despite all the difficulties of our times.

It has been a few months since my last Notes but I felt that as the New Year is upon us an update would be nice. Not unexpectedly, as it is the middle of Winter, there has not been a great deal happening in my own greenspace. I have been feeding my flocks of sparrows and wood pigeons and they all seem happy.

The sparrows are as manic as ever and I am pretty sure they carried on breeding until just before Christmas! The pigeons sit on my neighbour’s roof looking grumpy in the cold and damp of a Medway winter, waiting to be fed, and keeping an eye out for a local cat that has developed a taste for pigeon! The circle of life continues.

Just to bring some cheer into our lives it is worth thinking about the arrival of Spring. Whilst officially it starts on 1st March according to the Met Office or on the vernal equinox, which this year is the 20th March, we know that from natures point of view Spring has been starting early each year for a long time now. We see often see signs in February and sometimes in January so it is well worth keeping an eye out for the first snowdrops and crocuses, the first bees and even the first butterfly, once the weather starts to warm up.

On this subject a new feature of our website is a calendar of what we might see every month in our greenspaces and gardens, and January has now been posted. Please send in any sightings for our new biodiversity database using the recording forms.

Just reflecting upon the wider issues that have become an integral part of our lives, COVID is still ever present and I am sure we have all been affected in some way. The latest closure of the schools will bring yet more stresses and strains for our local families and makes me even more conscious of the value our local greenspaces.

Greenspaces are fundamentally important for the health and wellbeing of the community and the work you do as volunteers is hugely beneficial. Whilst we cannot get out to do our Friends Group tasks and events, such as planting trees or having a mass litter pick, we can still help as individuals. On our daily walks we can;

  • keep an eye out of any problems and report them to the Greenspaces Team
  • pick up any litter you see on your daily walk
  • keep a note of any interesting wildlife you see or learn the names of the trees and shrubs you pass every day
  • make some plans about what you would like to do with your greenspace

Most importantly, stay in touch with each other as group. Share stories through Facebook, WhatsApp, or a Zoom meeting. Send your stories into the Forum for sharing through the website. If you need any help for any of these activities don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can provide the support you need.

Stay safe over the next few months and we can look forward to a much happier and healthier spring.