A Green Leap Day out of the Athene office


Every four years, an extra day is added to the calendar – it falls on February 29 and is known as Leap Day. Historically, the day has been one of traditions, folklore and superstitions but now something else is taking hold. There are an increasing number of companies giving employees a ‘Green Leap Day’ to help save the planet – including Athene Communications.

Our Account Executive, Tom Evans reveals more about how we marked the occasion in 2020.

Pack the wellies…

At Athene, we leave the office for half of the day and head to the countryside to carry out voluntary environmental work for the local community.

This year saw us venture to Etton (battling harsh wind and rain weather conditions) to support the Langdyke Countryside Trust. The Trust is a member of Natural Cambridgeshire, a partnership that is chaired by our Managing Director, Richard Astle. Together, he and Natural Cambridgeshire aim to champion, influence and enable the fulfilment of nature throughout Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

On the day, we were joined by our brave friends at Speed, Nene Park Trust and PECT who were keen to get stuck in and didn’t mind getting a little wet and muddy.

We all helped with a variety of tasks, including preparing a shelter for lambing, cutting back hedgerow branches, litter picking, and clearing weeds and grass from wildflower banks.

My job was to shovel wood chipping into a shelter for the sheep, so that they had a safe and dry place to raise the lambs. I ended up caked in mud, but it was so worth it!

Marking ‘Leap Day’ in this manner is something we have done for a few years now and is enjoyed by members of Athene staff and our friends who we invite along.

Green Leap day - our staff stood in a barn setting
Green Leap Day 2020 was spent at Etton

Why are we doing this?

Last year, the UK government declared a climate change emergency – pledging to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

2019 also set all sorts of records, with almost 400 all-time high temperatures being set in the northern hemisphere during the summer.

If you needed even more reason for its importance, since the last leap year in 2016, we have sleepwalked into the warmest five-year period since records began.  

If this wasn’t a clear sign that we need to act and become more environmentally friendly, then I don’t know what is. Spending a Green Leap Day in this way is a fantastic opportunity to strengthen the team, meet new people, help out the local community and do your bit for the environment. It may be worth asking your employer if this is something they would be interested in doing too.

Finally, a very big thank you to Langdyke Countryside Trust for their time, guidance and patience. You can find out more about the Trust here.

The changes we make might seem small, but we are helping create a brighter future – imagine if thousands did too.