Well, what a strange last ten months it’s been. Having experienced lockdowns for the first time ever in our lifetime and being unable to carry on our lives as we normally would, we were looking for safe ways to keep in touch with each other.
Our monthly volunteer work parties had to be put on hold, but we certainly didn’t want to lose contact with our wonderful volunteer team. We had to get our thinking caps on, at first, we thought of online training opportunities and regular update emails and then we saw that our friends at Don Catchment Rivers Trust had started up a Book Club for their volunteers, an idea too good not to ‘borrow’, so thanks the Generous funding from Heritage Lottery Fund we made this part of our Reconnecting the Witham Project – helping people to reconnect with nature through the power of literature.
Wilding by Isabella Tree
Our first book was Wilding by Isabella Tree, we started reading in the summer and had our first meeting in September via Zoom. With our cuppas in hand, we proceeded to have a natter and a good catch up before getting onto the business of the book. In the main we all enjoyed it and were in awe of the vast volume of information crammed into one average-sized paperback. It was so informative with endless fascinating facts about farming, nature, different species and how they interact. Far too many facts to remember, in spite of desperately wanting to.
The overriding consensus was that Wilding was both interesting and inspiring with a positive outlook on what is quite easily achievable by leaving things be. I, for one, will definitely be re-reading this book.
The Pull of the River by Matt Gaw
So, we then had to make our next choice, this book was to be more specifically river- related in the shape of The Pull of The River by Matt Gaw. Our next meeting date was set, and we went off to get our books purchased ready to get our teeth into something else. After six weeks we’d set our next meeting date and were excited to discuss our thoughts and feeling about Gaw’s offering. Of course, we had to have a good catch up first.
We all agreed this book was much easier reading than our first, and it was suggested that this book actually drew you along in such a relaxed manner, it was not unlike the flow of a gently meandering river. The narrative certainly made you feel as if you were along for the ride and it was both interesting and entertaining to hear the anecdotes of both the good and bad elements of the author’s river explorations.
During these uncertain and unprecedented times, reading about nature can be almost as therapeutic as actually getting out there. We all know how nature is proven to have a positive impact on our well-being, so whilst we are able to get out once a day in nature to enjoy our daily exercise, we are very keen to carry on reading about nature and opening our minds to new concepts and learning new facts.
There is an endless supply of nature writing out there, from the observations of keen amateur naturalists to the more in depth writing of academics. Each has their own writing style, so you are bound to find something to engage and excite you, and even provide a bit of escapism from these challenging times. We are looking forward to our next book and would love for you to join us… If you would like to join our book club, please get in touch email@example.com or just choose your own book to read. You never know, it might even inspire you to start some nature writing of your own.