By Eve Sanders
Estuary Edges Officer.
When lockdown came into effect and companies switched to working from home, it was hard for many of us in the environmental sector to come up with innovative and exciting ways to keep engaging with the public – and naturally, people were quite distracted by the pandemic!
After a few meetings at TEP to see what we could do, we decided that a new podcast might be one way forward with our outreach. First of all, you can create a podcast from home (tick), secondly, you can record an interviewee over a video call (tick). And later, once furloughs were in place, people suddenly had ample time to tune in. (tick tick tick!) All we had to hope was that they’d be interested in delving into new topics!
So at TEP we pushed forward and decided to launch our very own ‘Talk of the Thames’ podcast. Our priority was to create an engaging platform for people to be able to enjoy learning about the Thames and the many ways that the river benefits people and wildlife. We thought it might even have extra appeal because once people were trapped inside, they could still be free to wander the great outdoors in their minds. No matter what the weather or level of fitness, we’d bring the Thames to all!
Thanks to our extensive network of TEP partners and members, we secured a brilliant line-up of speakers on a range of topics about the Thames Estuary. Our first episode launched with a great chat about wildlife with environmentalist, broadcaster, gardener, and our honorary TEP president Chris Baines.
As a podcast first-timer, I didn’t really know what to expect or even how to conduct a professional interview. The pressure was on – especially considering Chris was an experienced, respected, and renowned figure and my first guest! After listening back to my practice interview, I worried about whether the content and tone worked well but I must have done something right because right from the launch we started to rack up quite a few listeners and feedback! I’ve since honed my skills and am still striving to improve with every episode. I’m also still keen for feedback and grateful when it comes in, as it helps us organise new topics and tells us how to do better.
From the very start, our podcast was intended as a series and a component of our Tidal Thames virtual tour project. Every year it’s a tradition for TEP to run a boat trip for its members down the tidal Thames. As we travel to the North Sea and back to Tower Bridge, we enjoy a guided tour that highlights the estuary’s fantastic ecology, landscapes, and history. This year, with the limitations of COVID-19, our boat trip could not go ahead, but it because our key inspiration to launch a virtual tour instead!
For two months while I worked on getting the podcast series up and running, my colleague Wanda Bodnar was hard at work designing and creating a virtual interactive map that guides you along the river. The podcast and the map were designed to work together and complement each other, so you can have ‘sights and sounds’ experience. Both are available on the TEP website and you can find them here.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed the podcast episodes so far and that they’ve not only been informative but also brought light relief from the current global situation. I look forward to more interviews with our future podcast guests, so please get in touch if you have any ideas!
Please complete our feedback survey here.