Over 120 staff from corporates across Surrey swapped the office Christmas party for a wilder alternative, an outdoor adventure on Chobham Common with Surrey Wildlife Trust. A welcome day out of the office, swapping a keyboard and desk for a bow saw and heathland view, their task was to remove invasive Scots Pine trees from Chobham Common to protect heathland heather and rare wildlife.
With a bracing, frosty start to the day, eager staff from Toyota, Siemens, Fidelity, Ward Williams, The Boileroom, MaGuire Brothers and WWF arrived wrapped up warm and ready for a wild day out. A happy blend of environmental conservation with Christmas fun, teams of lumberjacks and jills from the office had fun felling invasive trees and making winter wreaths with warming mulled cider, chilli, mince pies and a bonfire.
Mitchell Brooks, digital communications intern at Siemens, heard from colleagues how much fun it was last year, so came along for the first time:
‘It could’ve been a normal Christmas party but instead there was four of us out on the common cutting down a big pine tree. I hope it was the biggest tree of the day. It was really fun. We were helping the environment and enjoying spending time with each other - the best of both worlds.’
Surrey Wildlife Trust piled up beech, holly, mistletoe, fir and pine cones and provided other festive decorations for wreath making. Sophie Coad, events manager at Surrey Wildlife Trust, said: ‘I’ve never seen so many beautiful Christmas wreaths, abundant with foliage and made with such joy. Both men and women had a go and they were just enjoying the challenge of creating something beautiful for their loved ones. It really captured the spirit of Christmas.’
Dominique Frazer, director of the Boiler Room, arts and community venue based in Guildford, said:
‘We arrived early and spent the best part of the morning cutting down trees and putting them on the fire, which was great fun. I’m a keen walker and I love being outside so it was good to give something back to the environment. I felt a great sense of achievement and hope we will see the heathland heather flourish next year.’
New year, new you? Why not get fit, make new friends and have fun by joining Surrey Wildlife Trust’s army of volunteers? From working in woodlands, to surveying rivers or helping our education team, there’s something to interest everyone. Or why not sign up to be a ‘Hedgerow Hero’ and help survey and protect hedgerows in your area and take part in a citizen science project.
Register your interest in a wild office party for Christmas 2019- email firstname.lastname@example.org