A remote working update from the Greenpop team


APRIL, 2020

By Lauren & Misha Teasdale

Dear Greenpoppers,

Hello from the small town of Greyton!

For about a month, we’ve been working remotely from the side wing of this beautiful country house, which we’re sharing with a friend, horses, cats, an old Pug named Mehlo, and our two-year-old son Arden Bear.

As our world keeps changing around us, we’re doing our best to live by one of Greenpop’s values: adaptability. We’re adapting to the unique challenges of raising a young child with two working parents; currently, we alternate between playing with Arden in the garden while the other retreats to a bedroom to work. We’re also adapting to a new reality where many of our long-term corporate funders are scaling back their donations, and challenging ourselves to think creatively about how to raise funds for environmental issues that will remain critical long beyond the era of COVID-19. We’re still all about getting active, not anxious—even if getting active looks quite different than it used to!

But as we adapt, we’re also noticing the little opportunities that were harder to find in the lives we lived before. In this temporary home, we can teach Arden about nature and trees in a place where they’re simply everywhere. Pivoting to remote work has encouraged us to connect as a team in new and innovative ways. Our team has become a global forest of tree-warriors!

We wanted to share a quick update on what the Greenpop team is working on from our home offices across South Africa and around the world. You won’t be surprised to see that most of us are still finding ways to get our hands dirty.  The Treevolution lives on!

Zoë Gauld-Angelucci, our Head of Programmes, is working from her home in Cape Town with Toby the Beagle, our previous Office Happiness Manager. Zoë is focusing her time on overseeing and adapting Greenpop’s programmes, writing grants, mapping our reforestation work using our amazing new presentation tool explorer.land (stay tuned for more on that), and preparing for her maternity leave (she’s expecting a baby girl in June). Toby is focusing his time on patroling the garden, napping in the bed, and begging for snacks.

Urban Greening Programme Manager Deon Knoetze is working from his braai room-turned-working cave in Cape Town. He is using his time to reposition Greenpop’s urban greening programme, which we are currently unable to operate. He is also creating little videos that show people how to get active in and around the house by doing simple and creative things—like making seedling trays out of two-litre bottles and cans or crafting a telephone from a tin can. When he’s not on the clock, he’s staying healthy by skipping a home-made rope, pursuing his BEd Honors in environmental education, and spending quality time with his rambunctious dogs.

Greenpop’s Administration Manager, Nadine Botto, is adapting to working from home. Her energetic toddler, Lily, is a frequent feature in meetings and will soon have to join the Greenpop team on a full-time basis. Nadine is working hard to ensure that the Greenpop team has all the tools to keep working from home, from coordinating online meeting platforms to answering all online queries. In addition, Nadine celebrated her 5th anniversary working with Greenpop in April. We cannot wait to celebrate with her soon!

Carla Wessels, Greenpop’s Partnerships and Communications Manager, has relocated to her childhood home in Pinelands, Cape Town, where she is isolating with her parents. She is focusing on building creative partnerships and campaigns to fund Greenpop’s programmes. She is fuelled by the collaborative energy that Greenpop’s team has maintained throughout this period of isolation; transitioning to remote work has been an adjustment, but it’s a mission well worth taking on. Carla is also appreciating some extra time with her dog, Mafuta, who is grudgingly accepting his new companion in the garden.

Communications consultant, Carl van der Linde is working from a farm in Betty’s Bay, South Africa, where he’s trying his best to keep his head above water (as you can see). Highlights from his time on the farm include picking wildflowers, tending his vegetable garden, and befriending a mongoose that’s become acquainted with his compost heap. Amidst a crisis that’s simultaneously local and global, Carl is taking comfort in growing closer to nature.

Matthew Koehorst, our Forest Restoration consultant, continues to work from his picturesque home office in Wilderness, South Africa. He’s keeping quite busy procuring trees for Greenpop’s Forests for Life programme, updating systems for monitoring tree health, and growing seedlings for a local informal settlement’s community garden. He’s been reflecting on how this crisis gives people opportunities to reassess and reevaluate what’s really important, and how it gives nature an opportunity to regenerate, reclaim, and move forward. He’s also grateful for his pup Bowie, who is a perpetually calming presence.

Claudia Waller, Greenpop’s Events and Operations Manager, is currently working from Vancouver, Canada. When on the job, she’s putting structures in place for events later this year and next; when she’s off the clock, she’s busy perfecting her handstands, her newest form of stress release! In these trying times, Claudia is striving to embrace the day and let go of what she can’t control. She’s encouraged by regular messages from her fellow Greenpoppers and by the solidarity, she sees in global action.

Tapera Mlambo, Greenpop’s Eco-Education Hub Caretaker, is making sure our Eco-Hub is well taken care of. He is tending to our fynbos plants and trees on a daily basis but is missing the energy and excitement that is brought by the people volunteering/attending workshops on a regular basis. He cannot wait to see the friendly faces of the Eco-Hub helpers again.

Damien Hewitt, Greenpop’s School Camp Manager, is isolating from the lovely village of Muizenberg. He’s keeping busy by building a new home for plants and an outdoor work area. When Damien is not assisting Greenpop with school camps and environmental education, he works on various exciting education projects. Currently he has been working on an online education platform which aims to make sustainable content readily available to teachers in South African classrooms. Isn’t that TREEmendous?

Our creative writing intern Jan-Niclas Schindzielorz is spending his days on his family farm in Tostedt, Germany, surrounded by donkeys, alpacas, chickens, tortoises, dogs, cats, and lots and lots of fruit trees. He’s currently focusing on writing content for the Greenpop blog and building a new webpage to make our Fynbos for the Future programme shine. When he returned to Germany, he thought he might go crazy at home with his family; however, he reports nothing but “harmonic vibes” from the home front!

Annelies Mast, our communications intern, is working from a small town in Belgium, where she’s busy creating marketing materials for our Eden Festival of Action. While she’s missing Cape Town and the Greenpop team, she’s enjoying spending quality time with her sweet old dog, Ella.

Urban Greening Intern Brandon O’Neill returned to Johannesburg to continue his internship from his home desk. Even though it’s hard not being in an office he enjoys doing research on reforestation and fynbos planting and stays in constant contact with the rest of the team. Instead of being surrounded by colleagues, he’s sharing his working space with tonnes of little pot plants and a new moss baby and after work, he’s grateful to reconnect with his family.

Imagine the exhilaration that you feel when you march up a hill with one thousand fellow tree-planters—waving flags, pounding drums, all going in the same direction, all with the same mission. At the end of a day of planting with this many people and this many trees, it feels like you’ve run a marathon—and you’ve won. You have all won.

That’s the feeling we get when we plant a forest.

But in a different way, that’s how we’re feeling now. We can’t be together physically, but we still feel the energy of thousands of people working their own small magics to make the world a better place. In home-offices and gardens and farms and online communities around the world, people are still planting seeds. We know that the Greenpop community is among them.

With great green love,

Lauren and Misha Teasdale

Greenpop Foundation NPC is a registered non-profit organisation. Registration Number (NPO): 151-411 NPO.