Speaker opportunity – Why didn’t you save the forest?

Church Mission Society mission partner, Dr Andrew Leake, is visiting the UK from  September 14th to September 28th 2014.  Andrew works with the indigenous peoples in the Chaco region, and is engaged in pioneering work to protect the environment and prevent deforestation there. If your church would be interested in hearing from Andrew, please do contact Katie Jenkinson at CMS on 01865 787522.

Listen to Andrew speaking about the environment.

Cowley Deanery conservation project

This article first appeared in The Door July 2013 edition

AN Earthing Faith initiative to help congregations re-connect with nature has been launched in the Cowley deanery.

Andy with a feathered friend. The area, which is already renowned for the eco work done at St Mary and St John Churchyard, on the Cowley Road, is set to become the subject of a survey by A Rocha UK, a Christian environmental agency.

Dr Andy Gosler, (pictured right) a research lecturer in conservation and ornithology and a member of Holy Trinity, Headington Quarry, is the man behind the initiative. Andy has enlisted the help of local and national conservation and natural history groups. The scheme includes ringing robins so that children can identify them as individuals in churchyards and breakfast walks – early morning bird watching and wildlife walks in the deanery.

It is looking at a fungus survey in churchyards, looking at fungi and lichens that may have been growing for 800 or 900 years.

The Ashmolean Natural History Society, God’s Acre Foundation, Oxford Urban Wildlife Group and others are involved. “A Rocha wanted to set up an on-line system for recording nature in churchyards and wanted a couple of churches. I have offered them the whole deanery. They are looking at urban hubs, reconnecting urban situations with nature, and Oxford is the perfect place to test this,” said Andy, who is developing international links for the project and says it could spread from Cowley into other areas of the city. There is a lot that makes Cowley extremely suitable. There are significant areas of urban deprivation and problem areas. It’s exciting.”

Oxfordshire Community Woodfuel Programme

Oxfordshire Community Woodfuel Programme has been started to help those managing woodlands and those wanting to fuel their community.

The programme aims to help local communities connect with their local environment and local energy supply, and understand the productive nature of woodlands, as well as increase supply and demand for woodfuel. As a result the aim is to reduce carbon footprints, improve biodiversity, and reduce ‘fuel miles’.

Find out more, including details of their ‘Logs for Labour’ scheme via the website: Oxfordshire Community Woodfuel Programme.

Ash Die-Back Disease

Following the discovery of Chalara fraxinea or “ash die-back” in mature woodland in Suffolk the government has banned all imports of live ash trees. The disease causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees, and can lead ultimately to tree death. It has the potential to kill millions of ash trees if it becomes widely established in Britain. Ash makes up to 40% of our native woodland in some areas, so it is vital that any new instances of the disease are reported to the Forestry Commission as a matter of urgency.

What are the symptoms?

  • Black/brown discolouration of the leaf base and midrib
  • Small lens shaped lesions or black spots on the bark of stems and branches
  • Trees with withered tops and shoots

A full guide is available online from the Forestry Commission: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/pest-alert-ash-dieback-2012.pdf/$FILE/pest-alert-ash-dieback-2012.pdf

For updates from the Forestry Commission visit: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara

What should I do?

  • If you have responsibility for a churchyard or any other wooded area, or you live in a property provided by the Diocese that has ash trees, read the Forestry Commission guide and make an inspection of your trees as soon as possible
  • If you find signs of the disease take photographs and contact the diocesan buildings and glebe department immediately:

For churchyards and consecrated land: Natalie Merry – natalie.merry@oxford.anglican.org or 01865 208229

For glebe land and vicarage/rectory gardens: Tony Kerry – tony.kerry@oxford.anglican.org or 01865 208292

If you find no signs of infection this does not mean that your trees will remain unaffected in the long term. Monthly inspection is recommended until further guidance is received from the government.

The Life of Trees and the Tree of Life

A Rocha’s 2012 Environment Resource Pack, The Life of Trees and the Tree of Life, is freely available to churches worldwide.

Ideal for use during Time for Creation (1 September – 5 October) or any suitable date.

Why trees? Martin Luther said: “God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone but on trees, flowers, clouds and stars.” Today, human behaviour is leading to massive deforestation around the world. All of A Rocha’s national projects are involved with protecting and planting trees or forests, and A Rocha International’s Tropical Forests Programme links several of these. In fact our human lives are dependent on trees in multiple ways. The Bible also starts and finishes with trees – in the Garden of Eden and in the heavenly-earthly City. In between, Jesus’ death on a tree expresses our misuse of God’s creation as well as God’s wonderful saving plans for people and all creation.

The pack contains PowerPoint presentations, and a short downloadable video suitable for showing in a church service, as well as a Service Outline and Children’s Activities and more. Find out more at The Life of Trees and the Tree of Life | A Rocha.

Although the pack is free, churches are encouraged to support A Rocha’s work through a special collection or regular giving. More details can be found here.

 

A Rocha Chiltern Gateway led service and picnic – 11th March

Join A Rocha for a Chiltern Gateway Project led service in the stunning 12th century church St. Mary the Virgin, Hambleden (RG9 6RX). This will be an informal service starting at 9:40 am on 11th March. Bring your own lunch and join the Chiltern Gateway Project team for a picnic and walk along the Thames from the church (leaving after the service for a short, easy walk). Families welcome.

For more information, contact Bob Sluka on bobsluka@hotmail.com or 01844 350259.

Free tree packs for communities

Help plant 6 million trees to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.

To celebrate the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth ll’s historic 2012 Diamond Jubilee, the Woodland Trust is helping millions of people across the UK to come together to plant 6 million trees.

They hope neighbours, communities, schools and families will come together to plant thousands of individual trees in their gardens, playgrounds and community spaces – each taking the chance to mark this special moment in history in a way that will stay with them forever.

Schools and community groups are welcome to apply for free tree packs to help local people get involved in the celebration, or you can browse our range of Jubilee trees to find the perfect one for your garden.

Interested? Contact the Woodland Trust on 0845 293 5689 or email jubileewoods@woodlandtrust.org.uk

via Help plant 6 million trees to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.