looking up more

Sophie Hislam

Public Open Space Innovator – Jobs and Skills

Nature is our biggest ally and our greatest inspiration.

Sir David Attenborough

Since starting my role with FPA back in April 2020 I have found myself looking up more – not only looking up on walks to enjoy the surrounding but using the internet to look up what plants grow when, why trees turn orange and yellow in the autumn and how to grown your own fruit and vegetables (the novice guide).

With a maiden name of Green it’s no wonder my dad and grandma are such avid gardeners, during my teenage years, I would spend a lot of time watching both dad and grandma in the garden, planting, watering and weeding however at the time nothing was more important to me than sunbathing or “revising” outside….but now I’m older and have  a garden of my own – I find myself regularly asking them both for advice on what to plant when, where to plant certain plants and how to best look after them. I am lucky enough to have had my own garden for a year now and I am super chuffed that I have been able to grown my own basil, chives, tomatoes, cucumbers, chilli’s. I’m hoping for courgettes and purple potatoes next year!

I’ve been working from home since 18th March and with the other half continuing to work as normal, being home alone has meant the buzz I get from regularly seeing people has been sorely missed and I now find myself singing along to the radio in between Zoom, Teams and Skype calls. Before on lunch breaks it was a scroll through the phone but now I go for walk around the local park and regularly pass the same dog walkers. It’s great to know that the park isn’t just used a pass through as part of a commute or a stop off in the playground after school, but used by all ages in the middle of the day whatever the weather. I’ve always enjoyed being outside, enjoying the fresh air, as a way of relaxing but since lockdown being outside is so much more – a place to socialise, relax, exercise and appreciate all of the beautiful thing’s nature gives us.  

If you’d asked me 10 years ago where I’d be working now, I certainly wouldn’t have thought it would be as part of the FPA team. However, I consider myself so lucky to be working on this fantastic project, supporting the initiatives and really bringing the green sector alive to those that are yet to explore what it has to offer. During the summer I met with the Community Environmental Trust to meet the young people that are actively involved with their local green space and I was blown away by how passionately and enthusiastically they were talking about the green space. It has been fantastic, to talk with so many people working in the green sector and understand why they love green spaces but also why they love their jobs – I never knew how vast the green sector was, along with all of the different jobs involved. I’ve found the green roofing work fascinating and I’m sure there are still plenty for me to learn about.  

Through the Skills Showcase – we really have an opportunity for education establishments, training provides and businesses to come together and help plant the seed for those young people considering the green sector as a career choice. So let’s use nature as a our ally and use it to inspire those in to the wonderful world of green jobs.

Whatever the next few months hold for us, I will be fully embracing the winter – it’s my favourite time to get out and walk.

It will be fresh outside and my cheeks will be rosy, the ground beneath my boots will be crisp but I will be wrapped up warm and cosy.

The holly berries shine bright red and the cobwebs glitter ice white, as we put up the fairy lights at home, the stars fill the winter night.

The animals will settle in their homemade beds and I will light the fire and pour a warming glass of red.

The sky above will hold a winter shimmer and as l finish the Christmas chocolates and New Year approaches – I think to myself, I best get walking again to get slimmer!

Soph x

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