SuperHome Open Days – September 2013

Visit the UK homes most improved for energy use

SuperHome Open Days this September let you get the inside story on some exceptional home improvement projects. These are older homes refurbished by their owners to be amongst the most energy efficient older homes in the UK. In every SuperHome you can learn about a range of installed technologies. Tours and Q&A sessions let you quiz the owners on specifics. You’ll discover what worked and get frank feedback on anything that didn’t. If your goal is increased home comfort, reduced energy bills or a smaller carbon footprint, a visit is sure to inspire.

Entry is free.

Book now at www.superhomes.org.uk

The Beautiful Burial Ground Conference

Caring for God’s Acre is organising a one day conference on managing churchyards. The Beautiful Burial Ground Conference will explore simple ways to use your churchyard to create a haven for wildlife, for heritage, and for people.

Saturday 28th September – 10-4pm at Thame Barns Centre, Thame, Oxfordshire

THAMES BARN POSTER EMAIL VERSIONThe day is aimed at everyone who cares about the management of burial grounds, and explore a range of themes including:

  • Caring for your grassland in a way that is sensitive to both wildlife and visitors
  • Involving people, raising funds and recruiting volunteers
  • Investigating, recording and conserving your burial ground and its stones
  • Writing brilliant new guides
  • Tree care – looking after your green monuments
  • and Case studies – incl. swifts, repairing walls & cemeteries

Places are limited – and booking is essential. Tickets cost £15 to include lunch & refreshments

To book complete the conference booking form – or contact Caring for God’s Acre 01588 673041 or email info@cfga.org.uk

The day will take place at Thame Barns Centre, Thame, Oxfordshire on Saturday 28th September – 10-4pm.

Poster: Contact Caring For God’s Acre for a printed version or download: POSTER PDF

Churchyard Action Pack

Even if you can’t go to the conference you may be interested in the new Churchyard and Burial Ground Action Pack from Caring for God’s Acre. The resource has a wealth of information to help with the sensitive management of your churchyard. There are guidelines on the management of wildlife habitats such as grassland and trees, and features such as lychgates, boundary walls and old stonework. It also includes information on how to involve others and how to make use of these places for learning and community activity.

It is available to buy or download from the Caring for God’s Acre website.

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.

SuperHomes Week – 16 – 24 March 2013

SuperHomes are older homes refurbished by their owners for greater comfort, lower bills and far fewer carbon emissions – at least 60% less! The SuperHomes Week is a chance to see eco renovation at its impressive best as the pioneering owners open their doors. Admission is free!

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You could visit Zoë Williams and see how she has made a 93% carbon saving by a range of measures at her 1950’s bungalow in Stanford in the Vale.

Details at: www.superhomes.org.uk

Threatened hedgehogs find churchyard home

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A new survey, run by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) believes that our 10,000 churchyards could be natural homes for hedgehogs who are emerging from hibernation at this time of year. In the 1950s its estimated that there were 36 million hedgehogs in the country. Today the figure is less than a million with numbers declining by three to five percent each year.

Find out more at: hedgehogstreet.org

Beat the winter blues…

rockpool

Tired of the snow already? Well, maybe you can enjoy the ocean vicariously through our family. We attend St. Andrews Church in Chinnor and are very involved with A Rocha.

Our family Bob, Cindy, Bobby (12), Sarah (10), Heather (9), and Matthew (6) have been working towards a volunteer trip to Kenya where we are presently. Bob is helping A Rocha Kenya develop a marine conservation programme and A Rocha more broadly to think theologically about the ocean.

You can follow our trip on robertdsluka.blogspot.com and the marine programme at arocha.org/ke-en/work/research/marine.html. Check out our faith section which has a downloadable inductive Bible study and other resources to help you think about your faith and the ocean. Maybe it will help beat the winter blues!