“May you live in interesting times” is supposedly a traditional Chinese curse. We are certainly living in interesting times now – unprecedented in our lifetimes, for most of us at least.
The first three months of this year went wonderfully well. We had a successful plant sale in March and have just mailed out the March edition of For People and Plants. Thank you all for your work and support during this time.
However, almost all volunteering work in the Park has now ceased, as a result of measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The garden and bushland carers, orchid carers, Wanju Marr carers, Office carers, and Climate Watch friends are no longer on site (note that tracking Climate Watch is something we can all continue to do, unless a complete lockdown in imposed by the state). A skeleton crew of Growing Friends is continuing to work in the nursery, practicing social distancing and following strict disinfecting procedures.
Helena (our Administration Officer) and Alex (our Events and Communications Officer) have just started working from home, but are still contactable by email and are looking forward to staying in touch with you all. It will be business as usual for them, albeit working in a different environment. Meetings of the FoKP Management Committee and subcommittees will either be cancelled or will take place in virtual space (via Zoom), with further communication by email. Across the board, operations of the Friends of Kings Park have been scaled down very significantly.
All FoKP planned events (talks, presentations, etc) have been postponed until the situation improves. Volunteering WA has notified us that no events will be held to celebrate National Volunteering Week (18-24 May). We had applied for funding for an event at Wanju Marr to celebrate the work of all our volunteers. Our application to Lotterywest for funding for the Kings Park Festival is also in abeyance. Funding will depend on whether Lotterywest decides to support public outdoor events during the crisis, as well as whether BGPA and FoKP have enough staff and resources to devote to preparing for the Festival in the event that it is given the go-ahead.
Our plant sales for the remainder of the year are also up in the air. We are planning to conduct on-line sales in May. The Friends will make a decision about the September plant sale, independently of whether or not the Kings Park Festival goes ahead.
A complete lockdown/home quarantine across the State is not yet upon us (at the time of writing this report); although this remains a strong likelihood. Nevertheless, every dark cloud has a silver lining. Now might be the time to review our procedures, policies and activities, as well as to revisit some of the less urgent tasks we have put on the back burner awaiting some free time in which to complete them.
Keep healthy and please practice all the recommended ways of reducing the spread of the virus.