MKNHS during Covid-19 – A Summary of activity since March 2020
The last time we met as a group was at The Cruck Barn on 10th March 2020 when the subject was “The Decline and Fall of Nature” (how ironic, given that man’s disrespectful relationship with Nature is allegedly at the root of the pandemic). Unfortunately, the first meeting to fall victim to the closure of the Cruck Barn and the national lockdown that followed was our AGM, so committee members at that time had to soldier on for the unknown duration until an AGM was possible. At the moment (December 2020) we have no idea when we will be willing or able to meet again in person.
Initially, the Society looked to its website as the main means of keeping in touch. The Committee continued to meet using zoom video conferencing facilities. Members were encouraged to access and contribute to the “latest sightings” page of the website and this encouragement continues. Members’ springtime ‘lockdown’ stories were added to the website, as were walk descriptions, allowing members to either do self-guided walks or enjoy a ‘virtual walk’ from the comfort of their own homes in place of our usual summer programme. As a result, the number of ‘page views’ for the website greatly increased over the same period (April-August) last year.
As we progressed into summer, the Society began to dip a cautious toe into the world of Zoom video conferencing for all members. It has been a huge learning curve and it is not a solution that suits everyone but it has made the best of a bad job. Whilst it is not what anyone would have chosen to do, it does have a few distinct plus points – for example it is a lot more comfortable to join in from home than turn out on cold and dark winter nights. When this pandemic is behind us, the Society will have some serious thinking to do about how the good bits from zoom and real meetings might be combined.
In the event, the Society has managed to run a complete season of weekly 2020 Autumn/Winter meetings right up to the end of 2020. The Autumn/Winter 2020 zooms have been a fascinating array of subjects and have worked better than we ever expected. We even managed to hold the delayed AGM virtually. The spring programme has been published and meetings will continue on Zoom until restrictions on ‘large gatherings’ are lifted.
We hope everyone who is willing and able to join the zoom “meetings” now has all the information they need to do so. There is help and guidance below and details of how to join by phone have been circulated to those who don’t use the internet. A small group of members is willing to offer further help and advice if needed, just ask!
Zoom is a digital platform that allows us to have virtual meetings while we’re unable to meet in person at the Cruck Barn. It is very simple to use, but here are some notes to help you get started.
To access Zoom meetings you will need either a PC (with camera, if possible), a laptop, a tablet, or an iPad. A smart phone can also be used, but the size of screen limits what can be seen. Access to Zoom sound by telephone will also be available.
Before a Society meeting, members will be sent an invitation including a link to join the meeting. If you are using a PC or laptop, simply click on this link and follow the instructions in order to join. If you are using a tablet, iPad or smart phone, you will need to download the app from the relevant app store.
Visitors are welcome to attend and can do so by contacting Linda Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org) in advance of the meeting they would like to join.
Joining a meeting
Zoom features you may want to use in a meeting
Part 2 also includes some guidance on meeting etiquette.