A message on the COVID-19 pandemic
from Rich Gilmore, Director of The Nature Conservancy Australia
Firstly, I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and are coping well with life being upended in the way that it has.
Australia has just emerged from the most devastating bushfire season we have ever experienced. And now, we’re going through a health, social and financial disruption unlike anything most people alive today have ever experienced. I know you are experiencing this for yourself, in your own way, and probably don’t need another reminder about how difficult life is, or may become. So instead, I wanted to say “thank you”.
Thank you for the way you banded together during the bushfire crisis, to help in whatever way you could. Thank you for giving time, money, love and care to the people and wildlife who needed it. Although we are now forced apart, that same spirit of oneness binds us together. I’m heartened by the way people are again helping others in need. Thank you for your acts of kindness, for finding new ways of staying connected. For caring yourselves, your families, friends and neighbours.
And thank you for being part of the TNC community. As members of that community, I wanted to let you know what we’re doing to take care of each other, stay focused on our mission, and help slow the spread of this virus.
Our COVID-19 response plan has been in place for many weeks. Led by a dedicated Response Team the plan includes four key elements:
- Protecting our people: we have closed our offices, made sure everyone has a safe and effective home working environment and implemented the most conservative health protocols.
- Helping others: our partner organisations, friends and colleagues across Australia and the Pacific are being affected in different ways and we are reaching out to provide whatever assistance we can.
- Stabilising operations to a new normal: we have identified new ways of working that ensure our commitments to reef restoration, bushfire recovery and resilience, Indigenous land management and freshwater conservation can still be met, albeit in different ways for now.
- Planning for the future: we are working to ensure that when the crisis passes and life begins anew, we will be ready to continue tackling the biggest challenges for people and nature at a pace and scale unprecedented in our history.
Thank you for the trust you place in us and our important conservation work. We’re ever grateful for your support. Your care for the future of Australia’s plants, animals and places makes our work possible. We appreciate all you do, and we’ll continue to drive our mission forward.
As we navigate these difficult times together, I hope you’re able to find some solace in nature, in whatever way you can. For me, it’s as simple as a Rainbow Lorikeet in the backyard, the dusk migration of fruit bats or simply the memory of a time well-spent in nature. Nature can provide us with tranquillity in tough times. And it reminds me of how much we need nature in all aspects of our lives.
Thank you again for your commitment to our mission. Please stay safe and look after yourself and your loves ones.
Director, The Nature Conservancy Australia