Greenways Land Trust is taking advantage of the downtime allotted by COVID-19 to broaden its digital presence.
“We’ve always thought that having more content online would be nice, but most of our work is on having direct contact with people,” said Lydia Stratemann, communications manager for Greenways. “It’s just so much more community-minded and focused. Now we just jumped on the opportunity to build a bit of content.”
The digital transition started in May with the first of the virtual gardening workshops featuring permaculture teacher Elaine Codling. The events were live-streamed and included a question and answer session. Afterwards, the workshops have been uploaded to Greenways’ Youtube channel, where they will remain as a resource for people wanting to start their own gardens in the future.
“It’s just something that will be there to stay. We’ve had a Youtube channel, but it never got used. There were like two videos that nobody ever wanted to watch, and we have also not promoted it,” Stratemann said. “I feel this is the year to actually tackle all of these things.”
Though only one workshop is left on the calendar, Stratemann said it was not the end of the group’s online programming. The final course on preparing a winter harvest will be streamed by Zoom on June 23. The workshops are free, but there is a suggested donation of $25 to help pay for the instructor’s time.
No follow up course has yet been planned, but Stratemann said she was interested in a canning or pickling course in the fall to help people put their food up for the winter.
“Maybe in a partnership with the City of Campbell River, we were talking about working together on workshop that could potentially look at topics like canning, pickling things going into the fall,” she said. “I’m sure in the fall we could pick up where we left off and see if we can explore some other topics with some other instructors.”
Another Greenways tradition is also making its way into the online world this year. Usually, Greenways starts hosting interpretive walks around the city in the spring. However, since COVID-19 stopped all gatherings, they have had to look elsewhere to bring that kind of programming.
“They’re guided by experts in the field, like in the past we had lots of Greenways folks run those walks,” she said. “We always took the expert and invited our members and other community members to join us for a walk. Those events usually are our main driver to get new members and get people on board. We get lots of our volunteers from those. It was an amazing outreach tool.
“That all can’t happen this year, and it was an easy change to go online.”
In most years, Greenways has a vibrant school garden program that has also been left out this year because of the virus. However, the program is getting a slight tweak in order for it to continue this year. Greenways will be working with schools across the district to keep their gardens growing. They have put out a call to students, families and community members who are willing to help out with watering, weeding and planting over the summer to keep the programs alive.
Volunteers can email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.