By Jemma Gibson, GIS Placement Student
Everyone is probably exhausted by thinking about COVID-19 and the horrendously trying situations that most of the country have found themselves in – I know I am. However, this pandemic created a new environment in which life is changing forever. The way we work and live has been fundamentally challenged like never before.
In my time at the GWCT, I have acted as a student, and we’re not usually trusted with anything too important. We’re here to learn and be taught how the world of science and conservation works. Then along comes a whirlwind of core staff being furloughed, the organisation being stripped back, and the work at the Trust being forced to adapt and try to come out of this situation as strongly as it can.
Aside from everything this crisis has ruined, from it emerged a golden opportunity for me. The students of GWCT 2019/20 have stepped up across the organisation to ensure business can run as smoothly as possible. Now dotted around the country, we are still working hard as ever to keep projects running, and some have even stayed onsite to ensure vital work can continue.
I have spent a lot of my time helping the Partridge Count Scheme and, in the face of what feels like the apocalypse, gamekeepers and landowners around the country are overcoming every hurdle to keep the scheme alive. We have had a wonderful response from the community, proving once again that our gamekeepers and landowners are in this with us. I will be the first to admit that before I started here, my imagining of a classic English gamekeeper was an older gentleman, decked out in his tweed, that has a passion for shooting all the cute countryside critters. Although I have yet to be proven wrong about the tweed, I have learnt that gamekeepers and landowners are at the forefront of countryside conservation, a brilliant asset that the PCS scheme has really embraced.
My colleague James Swyer beautifully summarised the importance of staying strong for the sake of science and conservation, and I hope that this perseverant attitude continues, bringing us out of this pandemic, stronger and wiser to the important things in life.