Take Root

The next video in A Rocha’s ‘Elements of Hope’ video series, Take Root, explores the benefits of developing deep relationships and committing to a particular place or community over time. 

This video shares A Rocha’s approach to conservation over the long term through two specific stories, including the protection of vulnerable habitats of the Alvor Estuary in Portugal and living by example amidst a younger population in Uganda new to ideas such as creation care.  

Sara Kaweesa of A Rocha Uganda explains, ‘I think when we put down roots, God is probably doing something. Maybe using your life to speak to somebody else. You just have to get there and do what you’re supposed to do so that other people can either copy you or your light shines out to them, and they will see the light and know where to go.’  

Being rooted in a community helps us grow and flourish, while also giving shelter and encouragement to others through our faithful and steady obedience to God’s calling for us, whatever it may be.  

Marcial Felgueiras of A Rocha Portugal adds, ‘This is how A Rocha views conservation. You grow roots. You are dedicated to a place. I think that has made a huge impact. The reason for success is God, definitely. It is because we’ve obeyed God’s call that we’ve managed to keep the area (the Alvor Estuary) as it is.’  

Join us in watching Take Root and feel free to share the video with your church, school, bible study or youth group. You can find the accompanying discussion guide here and download the video from our Vimeo channel here. Let us know how you are taking root in your own community! 


Corals bounce back

Coral bleaching is one of the biggest threats to reefs around the world and one of increasing concern as abnormally hot weather events become more frequent. 

In Kenya’s Watamu Marine National Park, the latest severe bleaching event took place in 2020. A Rocha Kenya’s marine team has been working with Kenya Wildlife Service, using permanent quadrats (randomly selected one-metre square samples of habitat), to collect data on four coral reefs in the reserve. Coral care packages purchased through A Rocha’s Gifts with a Difference have helped enable these reefs to be monitored for over three years, which is starting to yield some encouraging results. Although some corals died, many survived and appear to be more robust and resilient to the climate pressures they are facing. This gives us hope that Watamu’s corals may be adapting to cope better with heat stress. 

Dr Benjamin Cowburn partnered with A Rocha scientists to present results of this research at the recent International Coral Reef Symposium. The research suggests a way forward to identify threats that keep the reefs from thriving and proposes rewilding through coral gardening, using local species that have adapted to the bleaching events. Exciting times lie ahead for our work in protecting and restoring coral reefs in Kenya! 

You can shop for coral care packages at Gifts with a Difference to help us learn more about how corals are responding to bleaching events and produce appropriate management recommendations to protect the reefs in the future. 


Taking root in tradition

An A Rocha KriNa community is taking root in Southeast Sweden, and with it, a new apple meadow is coming to life.  

Anchored in the Kviinge parish (Swedish Lutheran Church) in Östra Göinge, A Rocha KriNa has sparked interest in creation theology and conservation work. In the spring of 2022, they started the process of planting an apple meadow. They began by collaborating with the local group Göinge slåttersällskap (‘mowing association’) to carry out controlled burning of vegetation. This association is working for the restoration of old meadows, sharing knowledge about managing meadows, and passing on the craft of scything. 25 people of different ages participated in the work, gaining practical knowledge on caring for meadows and their importance for biological diversity. The burnt meadow was quickly transformed as green healthy grass grew up. 

In August, the Göinge mowing association returned and held a course in scything. 20 participants practiced the traditional art of mowing grass, and they were even visited by the governor of the county of Skåne, Anneli Hulthén. By October, the entire meadow was mowed. The first apple tree was planted in November and now five are in the ground. In the future, A Rocha KriNa will sow flowering meadow plants, mow the grass in the summer and continue planting trees. 

The apple trees are rootstocks of various types (slow-growing and vigorous-growing) with different apple varieties grafted onto them. Before they were put in the ground, they were cared for and watered regularly for two to three years. This project strives to benefit pollinators, produce fruit in an ecological way and create a beautiful place, invoking fascination, rest and worship. Working with apple trees takes a long-term commitment, and we hope that this meadow will be a testimony of A Rocha’s Christian hope for many years to come!  


Let us take you out!

Looking for getaway ideas? Want to spend time in nature, learn something new or have the chance to give back in some way? A Rocha has options for you! 

Want to delve into something for a week? A Rocha Czech Republic invites you to join them at their centre, Krupárna, 12-19 August for their annual volunteer week – seven days of nature, community, learning and prayer. Fill out the application form and email it to [email protected] by 30 June.  

A Rocha France offers week-long options for all ages throughout the summer, with conferences on different themes hosted at Les Courmettes (they also welcome volunteers!). The programme is normally in French, with an English presence the week of 6-12 August with Joie et Vie (Joy and Life) and in English with France Mission 17-23 September. A Rocha Switzerland runs kids’ camps in French in August, a time of wonder and discovery in nature.  

If you have a day and you’re in the southern hemisphere, join A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand for their Ocean Deep, Ocean Wide retreat at New Brighton Church, Christchurch on 30 June. If you’re in Winnipeg, Manitoba, you can attend lectures and workshops on theology, climate change and creation care at the Be not afraid / Consider the lilies conference, 9-11 June. And if it’s a Thursday and you happen to be in the Algarve, A Rocha Portugal is always happy to welcome you at Cruzinha on their Thursday Visitor Mornings.  

Or maybe you are looking for something a little longer, a chance to live in community and dig into – literally! – what it means to care for the earth? A Rocha Canada offers three to six-month residencies at Brooksdale, their residential centre near Vancouver – a life-changing experience.  

If you can’t get to an A Rocha place in person, perhaps you would like to bring A Rocha home to you in the form of the Wild Wonder camp curriculum for children – designed for groups and churches, it’s available as a resource for purchase from A Rocha USA to get outside and experience the wonderful world God has made. Soon available in Spanish too! 

However you join in with us, we welcome you.