Kruparna pond - Filip Lastovic

Volunteer week with A Rocha Czech Republic

13-21 August 2022

Come and spend a week with us at the Keith Morris Centre! Staying with friends; helping nature.

Overview of the week:

  • Three days of work in our educational centre, both inside and especially in the living garden behind the centre. It has seven ponds, two bird hides, insect houses and more – a haven for flora and fauna, and always in need of some maintenance! We hope to complete another pond and do some major planting.
  • One day in the Josefov meadows ornithological reserve (a private reserve belonging to ČSO – the Czech Ornithological Society)
  • One day in the Orlické hory (Eagle Mountains) Protected Landscape Area

 

Overview of the day:

  • We will work for a maximum of four hours per day.
  • Each morning, we will start with a short Bible reading and focus on what the Bible has to say about nature (in Czech and English)
  • Afternoons we will offer various activities: catching and ringing birds, walks and shorter trips in the surrounding countryside, Czech traditional mushrooming (plus a simple mycological course), monitoring nesting Kingfishers or Dippers…
  • In the evenings, we’ll spend time together in singing and joint readings from inspiring environmental books

 

Sunday 14 August: closing service at our centre or in the local church

Accommodation is simple: bring your sleeping bags and mats; we´ll sleep either in the centre or in the garden (in a tent, forest shed or bird hide). 

Food: food for everyone will be prepared by our cook, with the help of several volunteers in the kitchen and dining room. 

Price: 10 € per night. Travel to the centre is at your own cost; during the week, transport will be provided in our cars. A driving licence is welcome. 

Capacity of the week: limited to 30 people. We expect that half of the participants will be from the Czech Republic, with the other half of volunteers from further afield (e.g. England, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, USA…) 

If you are interested, please email us at [email protected] and we´ll sign you in – first come, first served! 

Pavel and Radka Světlík, A Rocha Czech Republic

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When is a woodland not a woodland? When it’s a wetland.

Did you know the Dakatcha Woodland in Kenya is also a seasonal wetland? 2022 is the first year that World Wetlands Day has been observed officially by the United Nations. Wetlands, like forests, can act as ‘carbon sinks’, attracting carbon and sequestering it so that it cannot escape into our atmosphere. Wetlands like Dakatcha are also home to incredible biodiversity.  

Sadly, wetlands are under threat. Mining and agricultural activities have destroyed nearly half of Kenya’s wetlands over the past 50 years. A report by the National Environmental Complaints Committee found that the area of wetlands had shrunk by around 40% between 1970 and 2021.   

The seasonal wetlands of Dakatcha Forest are the known breeding grounds of Clarke’s Weaver, an endangered bird found only in Kilifi County. They are particularly at risk because they appear dry for much of the year, which means the forest is converted into agricultural land. 

One of the problems A Rocha Kenya is facing is selective logging for charcoal production and pineapple farming. With easy access to chainsaws and motorbikes to transport charcoal, forest clearing has intensified in recent months, and the indigenous forest is being burnt down at an alarming rate. In turn, the price of land is also increasing as local landowners then sell their land to speculative buyers and companies interested in pineapple farming in the rich red magarini soil. 

A Rocha Kenya continues to work to secure this land before it is lost. Scouts govern the forest to make sure the area is well protected and to resolve any conflicts that may arise. The science team also go for a one-week camping trip in Dakatcha each month to record the biodiversity and set the foundation for future research and conservation decisions.

Wild-and-Wonderful

Wild and Wonderful

Wild and Wonderful is a website with free Eco resources for schools, churches and families. The school resources were initially created for A Rocha Netherlands by long time A Rocha friend Petra Crofton.  

The Explore Creation pack for churches links Bible, ecology and creation care and consists of six sessions about life in different places such as the dark, the sky, and the water. Each session offers outdoor and indoor activities.  

There is an Explore Creation workshop for schools too, with ‘Life’ stations and mini-activities. The resources have been tried and tested for nearly ten years and are meant to inspire and encourage children as well as parents and leaders/teachers. As the school materials were initially created for A Rocha Netherlands, they link in with national primary school curriculums and follow the wild adventures of four 11-year olds (Science Geek Christy and her Eco-Logbook – A Rocha International 

On the website, you’ll also find Extra Resources with crafts, trails, quizzes, recipes and a book club manual. The project supports A Rocha and Climate Stewards, and was funded by Scientists in Congregations with the aim of offering free materials to churches, schools and families using story and adventure as starting points. 

www.wildandwonderful.uk  

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Standing up for nature

Our latest issue of Field Notes explores ways we can stand up for nature. One way is to engage with the next Convention on Biodiversity (CBD COP15). If you have no idea what that is all about, never fear: read our beginners’ introduction and all will become clear! There are also lots of stories of A Rocha’s conservation work around the world to inspire you.