Washington Wetland Centre tells of how just six staff were left to look after animals during lockdown - and how the team has been blown away by the response since reopening

The team at one of Wearside’s most popular attractions has told how it was kept afloat by people’s generosity and hard working staff – and how it’s been blown away by the response since reopening.

Saturday, 8th August 2020, 6:00 am
A Chilean Flamingo at WWT Washington

WWT Washington Wetland Centre was forced to close in March as the pandemic worsened, with all but six staff put on furlough.

The skeleton team were left to care for the huge population of animals at the centre throughout the lockdown.

Like many visitor destinations, the animal charity has faced a number of struggles due to the crisis, as it missed out on visitors during its busiest time of year.

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WWT Washington reopened to the public in June

The site, which usually consists of 30 staff and 70 volunteers, took a big financial hit during lockdown, but thanks to the generosity of donations during the difficult time, were successfully able to reopen in June, and have been blown away by the response since.

Since reopening, WWT Washington has received a lot of positive feedback from visitors and have also seen volunteers return to support the centre and its variety of animals.

A spokesperson for WWT Washington said: “It’s amazing to be open again. Providing a safe, accessible space for people to experience nature at its best is core to what we do. Those of us who remained here throughout lockdown missed our visitors, colleagues and volunteers tremendously

“We know how difficult and uncertain these times are for everyone and have been moved that so many people have chosen to support us throughout.”

As part of new safety measures introduced, visitors must pre-book online and there is also a restriction on the number of daily visitors.

New resources covering conservation science themes were released weekly, coveing a number of topics, including climate change, migration, wildlife identification and habitats.

The lessons were supported by visual resources, ‘how to make’ videos and fun quizzes for families to help educate their young children in the building blocks of conservation science.

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