Small can have an impact

Introducing Small, the latest instalment of A Rocha’s ‘Elements of Hope’ video series. This inspiring short video highlights the power of small endeavours, reminding us that even the smallest actions can make a significant impact.  

From the small beginnings of conserving the threatened Dakatcha woodland in Kenya to reminders of the beauty and creativity in every detail of God’s creation, Small encourages us to have hope and not be discouraged by the smallness of who we are or what we can do.  

Join us in watching Small and let it inspire you to take small but meaningful steps towards caring for creation. Share it with your church, school, Bible study or youth group and see how God uses your small actions for his kingdom. We’ve created this discussion guide which we hope helps you engage the theme of the film together. Download the video from our Vimeo channel here and tell us how you are sharing it with your community!  

Ōi burrow scoping

Ōi Against the Odds

In a rewarding end to 2022, A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand saw 12 Ōi/Grey-Faced Petrel chicks fledge from Karioi! 

Historically, thousands of seabirds would flock to the beaches, coastal forests, and mountaintop of Karioi to raise their chicks, but now only a tiny remnant remains. When A Rocha first joined the community restoration project on the mountain in partnership with the Whāingaroa community, they found only a dozen or so Ōi burrows containing broken eggshells or dead chicks. Each year, adult pairs were returning to Karioi to breed only to find their burrows overtaken by invasive species and competing for habitat. For each breeding pair, a single Ōi egg is laid in winter and incubates for about 55 days before hatching but it’s not till summer before the Ōi chick fledges. This makes the Ōi egg and chick very vulnerable to predators like rats, stoats, ferrets, possums and feral cats.    

To give these birds a breeding chance, A Rocha began a long-term intensive predator control along the Whāingaroa Coast and on Karioi. They also monitor the Ōi burrows during breeding season, when adult pairs return to lay a single egg. Searching for burrows can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, so Miro, the specially trained seabird dog, helps locate new and active burrows. Each week, a dedicated team of ‘burrow buddies’ visit the burrows to assess activity and respond to predator threats. A Rocha also set up 24-hour field cameras near the burrows each year, which give an intimate look at the everyday (and night time) activities of the Ōi.    

For the 2022 breeding season, the Karioi team monitored 63 burrows. Unfortunately, a number of Ōi chicks were lost due to stoat incursions, but the 2022 Ōi season was still the most successful one yet! With 12 chicks fledged around Christmas, the season marked a record since the first seven chicks fledged in 2017. 

Thanks to long-term monitoring and intensive predator control, 47 Ōi chicks have fledged from Karioi in the past six years! This result is a testimony to a community that has come together and made a real difference to a vulnerable bird species and a threatened ecosystem.     

Click here to watch amazing footage from the monitoring cameras showing juvenile Ōi chicks spreading their wings and preparing to launch themselves into life at sea. These birds will return to the same coastline in 5-6 years’ time to raise their own chicks. 


A truly communal kitchen

At the end of 2021, A Rocha Peru began a partnership with Pastor José Guzmán from Iglesia Casa de Oración in Pacasmayo, northern Peru, to develop a community kitchen that the church had initiated. Located in a remote, desert shanty town, Micaela Bastidas de San Demetrio community kitchen was facing the challenge of improving its modest premises. In response, A Rocha Peru installed an ecological cookstove for more self-sufficiency, set up an organic garden and a space for rearing small animals, and introduced environmental education activities.  

The collaboration proved a significant catalyst which inspired local government and companies to get involved and complement this work by developing the building structure, improving the kitchen and providing a water cistern. Through these combined efforts, Micaela Bastidas de San Demetrio community kitchen has been transformed into a communal hub run by local women committed to preparing and serving daily nutritious meals to 28 families, a total of 120 adults and children. 

In October 2022, A Rocha International’s Director of International Operations, Sarah French, and A Rocha Peru’s Executive Director, Ramón Casana, had the pleasure of being shown around the centre. The local women served them a delicious meal as an example of their work and a token of their appreciation to A Rocha. This inspiring example of community work shows the multiplying impact that A Rocha Peru is having in the communities it serves.  


A Rocha France – European Volunteer – ESC (Mas Mireille)

The project offers young people the opportunity to acquire competences in scientific studies of flora, fauna and ecosystems and to put this into practice by implementing projects for managing and protecting the sensitive and threatened wetlands of the Vallée des Baux near Arles. Volunteers will take part in observation, monitoring or censing of species, taking samples and analyzing them, protecting biodiversity of the sites managed by A Rocha by direct actions (tree planting, vegetation cutting, setting up nesting boxes or perches, etc). Specific time (up to 10%) will be devoted to learning French language, 10% of the time will be devoted to communicating about the ESC through different medium (video, stands, articles). 30% of the time will be spent on tasks related to the proper functioning of the Centre A Rocha France: – Welcoming visitors – Maintenance of the domain and its park, various tasks related to Community life.

WHERE? Lieu-dit Mas Mireille, 13280 Arles, France

WHEN? Application deadline : end of March Possibility to start before if early selection

JOB DESCRIPTION: 1 year volunteering position with A Rocha France in the Vallée des Baux, starting before the end of March Open to young European citizens from outside France.

Send resume and motivation (with two references) to Coline Raillon, Nature Projects manager at Les Courmettes : [email protected]

Accommodation, food and transport arrangements

The volunteers are housed at the study centre, which is also the logistic base for the projects, the head office and the hub for running the life of the team. They share rooms (1 to 2 people of the same sex per room). Lunch and supper are eaten together during the week with the team and any other participants at fixed times. Breakfasts are self-service. The team members take turns at preparing the meals for the group. Special diets are catered for. The centre is no-smoking. Bikes are available for getting around. Rules of life might be adapted due to the COVID situation.

Training during the activity

Training will be provided at arrival concerning the rules of life at the center, community life, week planning and project and activity description. Field work training is provided all along the project to the volunteer such as: species identification skills, protocols, use of observation tools and other field equipment. Training in database management, data analysis and report drafting is also provided depending on the volunteer skills at arrival.

Participant profile

We are looking for volunteers who have a real interest in protecting the environment. They will need to enjoy life in the country and the contact with the flora and fauna, which means sometimes putting up with difficult conditions, getting around by bike, the wind, dry heat, etc. The volunteers will have to show that they can take initiatives in the tasks they undertake and take them through to completion. They should not hesitate to ask for clarification or direction if necessary for their projects. A basic knowledge of French is an advantage for the volunteers, but not a necessity.