My name is Samantha, and I am 39 years old. I have lived in Birmingham all my life and have always lived near to a park or green open space. I grew up in a time before mobile phones and modern technology, and so spent many hours of my childhood playing in the parks in and around the West Midlands.
In 2007 I was hospitalised and spent many months confined to a hospital bed. With the aid of a Wheelchair and Elbow Crutches I re-learned how to walk and once again was able to enjoy Birmingham’s green open spaces.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck I formed a Walking Group with some of my neighbours and enjoyed visiting parks and nature trails. I found the regular activity of walking not only supported my physical rehabilitation but also improved my mental wellbeing.
Since the outbreak and subsequent ‘lock-downs’, sadly our Walking Group came to an end. I instead looked for new green spaces within my immediate environment. That being my garden where I feed the many birds that visit – from small Bluetits and Long-Tailed Tits, a Robin, a family of Blackbirds, Magpies and Wood Pigeons to migrating Redwings who live up in the trees, and the Swifts, Bats and formation of Canada Geese who fly overhead.
I also enjoyed walks around the local playing field during the summer lockdown of 2020, the air felt cleaner and fresher – most likely because the reduced number of cars on the surrounding roads. And I saw many more butterflies, ladybirds and bees fluttering around than usual. A neighbour shared with me, how on one winter’s evening, she saw fox cubs on the field playing in the snow.
I do however have one regret, and that is that human-hands would stop blighting this special green space with fly-tipped rubbish, spent fireworks, empty beer bottles, cigarette ends, and discarded face masks.
I hope that in sharing my earth story, better plans can be made in the future for our parks and green spaces. Please help us plan the future of our parks and green spaces by sharing your earth story.
Samantha Vaughan MA (Art Health & Wellbeing) BA (Fine Art)
IIHHT (Aromatherapy, IHM)
Perry Barr HLB – Chair