The garden at Krupárna, A Rocha Czech Republic’s centre in north Bohemia, is an oasis of green: Blue Tits Cyanistes caeruleus flit through the planted native bushes, while Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea hunt near the seven ponds, where they feed on aquatic-type insects and invertebrates. You may catch a flash of a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis or a Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa along the brook which borders the garden. Badgers have set up house alongside wood and brush piles for reptiles, while solitary bees reside in the five-star insect hotel. Two-legged visitors are welcome too: children learn about plants and animals on their weekly club visit, including what plants are edible and which ones really aren’t! All who walk past on the forest trail are invited to stop and enjoy the garden – a wordless testimony of God’s love.
Recently the garden rang with the excitement of students and their teachers as seven schools took part in an ‘Ecology Olympics’, a two-day environmental contest organized by A Rocha Czech Republic at the request of the local government. Jana and Filip, two of A Rocha’s environmental educators, put the teams through their paces on identification skills in botany, birds, mammals, insects, biodiversity and species protection.
When evening came, the ‘Olympians’ were invited to join a candlelight vigil of hope for the healing of our broken world. Starting in darkness, people read Bible passages and environmental texts, accompanied by the music of Taizé. Gradually, candles were lit, shining brightly as Jesus’ words were read: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’ (John 1:5).
On the second day, the students created habitats specifically designed as nesting or refuge areas for birds, reptiles and insects, having researched the appropriate style and materials to choose. These amazing structures are now part of the garden, a reminder of God calling us into the light and to work together towards a healed world.