It’s that time of year where conservation experts and volunteers get on their feet and perform maintenance on forests and lands in other ecosystems. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many conservations aren’t able to go through with their normal task work. Social distancing guidelines have forbidden people to be a certain distance from one another, even if it means conservations are left without being cleaned of plastic and other unwanted items.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) runs over 300 events across Canada every year. Volunteers use their time to help out anywhere they can from bird inventories to cleaning up the shore. Andrew Holland with the NCC stated, “This is the time of year our science staff and conservation biologists are usually going out, doing property monitoring and removing invasive species, now that is halted.” The charity group Tree Canada who works with the NCC has pushed their tree planting events to the fall in hopes that distancing guidelines will have changed and allowed volunteers to go out and plant more trees than usual to make up for time lost.
Some organizations have taken this time off from working out on the field to sit down and reflect on future projects and strategies. The Cumberland Community Forests Society (CCFS) used this time to purchase over 90 hectares of trees on Vancouver Island after raising over $2 million during the pandemic. Their executive director, Megan Cursons believes that this crisis has allowed CCFS to shift how they think about energy production and urban development. It is safe to say that this pandemic has opened the eyes of many people involved in nature conservations.
Although large events are not able to operate, volunteers and organizations have thought of ways people can still help out while being at home. Tree Canada offered tree seed kits for people to plant in their backyards or their community. Volunteers were asked to create safe places for birds, whether it’s a bin you found around the house or made by supplies from the hardware store. There are also free virtual learning sessions offered to teach individuals about how to keep conservations alive during this time and how to’s on projects.
COVID-19 has had a great effect on conservation today, but right now there is no way in telling how this crisis will affect it in the future.