We speak to Michael Blencowe about Sussex Wildlife Trust TV

, 26 January 2021
We speak to Michael Blencowe about Sussex Wildlife Trust TV
Michael Blencowe © Miles Davies

Tells us what's been happening

Well, we're certainly keeping busy. During Lockdown One I worked on the 100 days Corona Wildlife Diaries, which gave people some daily distraction during the original pandemic restrictions. 

My colleague James Duncan also wrote daily online blogs and we received a lot of lovely feedback. 

People certainly appreciated having something to read and 'check in with' each day.  

We branched out into online education videos and films and of course there was the popular Back Garden Bird Race virtual event too. 

By Lockdown Two, I had finally worked out how to use the Zoom webinar platform (although if you watch my bemused hosting of some of the Nature Table webinars you may disagree). 

We started putting together a programme of online talks to educate, inspire, and entertain - or at the very least distract you from challenging situation we are all in. 

How are they going down?

I really didn't expect the webinars to be this successful! We have thousands of people watching and have had to upgrade our Zoom platform to accommodate everyone. It's been a lot of work but we've received so much lovely feedback and many donations. It seems people are really struggling during Lockdown Three - the cold, wet weather isn't making it any easier this time around. A lot of people have emailed to say how much a regular dose of wildlife is lifting their spirits and giving them something to look forward to each week. So that makes all the 'behind the scenes' hassles worthwhile. 

What have some of the challenges been?

The main challenge is that broadcasting a webinar is a very surreal, unnatural experience. I'm sat at a makeshift table behind my sofa and there are 684 people looking at me...but I can't see anybody. It's unnerving.  

What subjects are coming up?

We've got 'A Year at Rye Harbour' with Dr Barry Yates on 28 January, followed by 'A Year in the life of the Sussex Wildlife Trust Ecologist' on 2 February. 

Then there's mammals, moths, garden wildlife and marine wildlife in February and plenty more planned for March. 

And there's the monthly Nature Table Live too where we look at photos and sightings sent in by members and tackle everything from Sparrowhawks to the Portuguese Man-o-war and Ichthyosaur poo.   

Webinars are free, but donations are appreciated. It's essential to book yourself a place:

For the current list of what's on, and how to book, see here

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