Nature in Lockdown - reflections of Marine Team member, Abby Crosby

Abby is a Marine Conservation Officer at Cornwall Wildlife Trust. She leads various projects within our Living Seas Team, including our Marine Strandings work and Your Shore Beach Rangers. In this blog, Abby, who’s been with the trust since 2007, discusses her experiences with wildlife and what nature meant to her in lockdown.

It was around mid to late January that I started to get a sense that coronavirus could have huge implications. I remember listening to Radio 4, watching the news, and seeing how things in China were developing and thinking ‘how we deliver projects is going to have to change dramatically.’

But then lockdown happened and the impact still took me by surprise. The crisis affected Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s fundraising so I was one of numerous staff members placed on furlough. It was odd, as overnight I went from somebody working in the sector to an observer seeing it from the outside.

I have two young children and we went from being a family who like to be busy, outdoors and active, to a situation where everything was massively restricted, and – like most people – I found this very difficult.

a picture-perfect postcard image, the coast path trails off in the left hand corner, the green heather rolls down to a sandy yellow beach where the tide is out and aquamarine waves roll into the shore. The aquamarine blue gradually darkens and meets a light blue sky above

Abby Crosby- view on morning run of Porthtowan Beach

However, we’re fortunate to live a short distance from the beach and being outside in nature as much as possible got us through lockdown. I’d go for runs on the coastal path or we’d have family walks on the beach.

And integrating home schooling with outdoor activities provided some very special memories. One week the kid’s school plan was focused on the environment, so we went bird watching and beach cleaning, and they created posters on how litter and pollution impacts wildlife.  

In short, nature kept us sane. It provided things to do with the children, kept us active, and provided peace and a space to clear our heads.

Marine Team Officer Abby Crosby bobs in the water with her two young children, surrounded by clear,calm blue waters and a bright blue sky behind. They are all laughing happily and enjoying the sun and the sea.

We also saw far more wildlife that we would under more normal circumstances. I saw choughs in Chapel Porth car park for the first time ever, which was fantastic. I’ve since heard that some breeding pairs of choughs have done quite well over recent months, which is possibly because they’ve been able to forage further than usual due to less human activity.

I was thrilled to hear a cuckoo in Porthtowan, which I reported immediately to Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (ERCCIS). They said it was the first one in the area officially recorded in many years which I found very exciting!

Another thing I noticed on furlough was just how much of a profile wildlife had. The environment was being discussed everywhere and it felt like there was a greater public appreciation for nature, which as a conservationist, was lovely.

Sadly, any benefits to nature have been short lived and there remain multiple threats to the marine environment, so I was bought back from furlough in June. It’s been wonderful being back and feeling part of the movement that’s protecting the places I love so much and on which I relied in lockdown. We have adapted incredibly well within the marine team, moving a lot of content online and creating our first ever Marine You Tube Channel which you can check out here.

To share your stories of lockdown, please complete this survey to help inform our conservation work and conversations with decision makers. You can show your appreciation for nature by joining Cornwall Wildlife Trust or donating.  


We’ve all had our own experiences of nature over the last few months and we would love to hear yours

We invite you to take part in the Cornwall Wildlife Lockdown Survey.

Completing the survey only take a few minutes, and we will use this to help shape our conservation work and conversations with policy makers.

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