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From Staffordshire to the North East

20th July 2020

For NHSN Volunteer Ranger, Jack Butlin, nature provided a source of solace and respite during lockdown

I’m a Staffordshire boy that’s recently moved to Whitley Bay. My girlfriend is born and bred up here and, after months apart and tireless job searches, I managed to secure a pretty sweet job in Newcastle. I jumped on the train one Monday morning to move my life up to the north east, full of excitement and anticipation. And then the world imploded. Covid happened. My contract cancelled. World upside down.

Thankfully, no matter how dire the situation, I have always been able to take solace in nature. Having suddenly been gifted much more time than I was anticipating I was able to thoroughly explore the beautiful natural world that is now at my doorstep. The familiar sights and sounds within the beautiful woodlands of Brierdene and Hollywell have helped me to stay grounded. Whilst exploring the coast, particularly around St Mary’s Island, has filled me with awe as new natural wonders grace me with their presence. Perhaps my greatest discovery to date has been finding Gosforth Nature Reserve and being granted the opportunity to volunteer as a ranger. I can’t wait to meet the wonders the reserve beholds – both in terms of the wildlife and those of a human persuasion.

To me nature represents growth and optimism. It never fails to fascinate me watching the seasons change and new life taking hold. Nature is the reason I have been able stay sane in such trying times. I owe it so much, as I know so many others do; It is a pleasure spending my life working for it.

By Jack Butlin, Whitley Bay

About the author

Jack is an Ecology and Conservation (Msci) graduate from Lancaster University. He loves all aspects of wildlife, from plants and insects to mammals and birds. An ESL teacher, he has taught English in Thailand and currently teaches English online to adults from all around the world.