A garden home for all

Although wild creatures are adept homemakers, you may find that going the extra mile to welcome them into your neighborhood pays off. A Rocha Czech Republic’s environmental centre has a two-hectare garden teeming with life, testament to the work they’ve done to create all sorts of habitats and homes for local wildlife.  

There is a heap of leaves inside a dry stonewall for snakes. Two insect hotels have rooms to suit all manner of preferences. Inside the drawers are dark corridors, off which little compartments sit for bees to deposit their larvae safely before heading off to gather pollen from the numerous varieties of native flowers allowed to blossom where they will. The six ponds are full of frogs, fish and newts, a fertile feeding ground for birds. Brightly coloured dragonflies dart above the water.  

Inside a manmade hillock, there’s a chimney – the perfect little house for breeding Kingfishers Alcedo atthis, complete with perches and inviting burrows. A composting area is fronted with plexiglass so you can peek in on the earthworms in their underground home. Tall reeds have been propped up, providing cover in an open area. Badgers raise their families in sets on the wooded edges of the property, sometimes coming into view via the camera trap at night.    

Any time spent in this natural wonderland restores vision for God’s good design in creation – where each living thing has its place, the right to belong and the ability to live alongside others in peace and harmony. It serves as a reminder that although humans often make a situation worse, we can also make it better.  


Species rediscovered: a long-lost echidna and three wetland wonders

God is concerned for life on Earth in all its variety. His love extends to each creature, which is why we lament anytime there is human-induced extinction of a fellow species (read more in the Evangelical Call to Action on Biodiversity). However, we rejoice all the more when a species is rediscovered! We’ve seen this many times over A Rocha’s 40+ years, like when an intern discovered a Salish Sucker Catostomus sp. in Canada, and a White-naped Mangabey Cercocebus lunulatus was photographed by a camera trap in Ghana’s Atewa Forest. In 2023, several more iconic species were rediscovered by the A Rocha Worldwide Family.  

Thanks to a member of the Friends of A Rocha Network, YAPPENDA, Attenborough’s Long-beaked Echidna Zaglossus attenboroughi has been rediscovered in Indonesia! Feared extinct for over 60 years, this egg-laying mammal was found in the previously unexplored Cyclops mountains. Alongside members of the indigenous Yongsu Sapari community, scientists from the University of Oxford and students from Cenderawasih University, YAPPENDA embarked on an expedition to document the Cyclops Mountains with the goal of finding the lost echidna. The team deployed over 80 trail cameras, making multiple ascents of the mountains and climbing more than 11,000 metres in total. Finally, the echidna was caught on camera on the last SD card, from the last camera collected on the last day of the expedition. Many more discoveries were made which highlight the importance of protecting this rich wilderness, including a new species of terrestrial shrimp, dozens of new insect species and a new species of frog.














You may remember that A Rocha France observed beavers for the first time in the Vallée des Baux marshes last year. In the spring, they found three more rare and threatened species. Savi’s Warbler Locustella luscinioides once nested in the Baux marshes, but it hadn’t been observed during its nesting period in over 20 years. This elegant marsh warbler is in decline worldwide and red listed in France. A Rocha scientists observed singing males twice, almost a month apart, confirming the existence of their territory within the reserve. This migratory species prefers old reed beds with large reeds, a habitat which is gradually developing within the reserve’s wetland. 

The other spring surprises concern two rare and protected plants: the Hedge Hyssop Gratiola officinalis and the Marsh Woundwort Stachys palustris. Sensitive to grazing, the first had not been observed in the Baux marshes for almost 15 years. However, with low pastoral pressure on the reserve, these lovely flowering plants were given the opportunity to grow and bloom.  

A Rocha Lebanon is currently searching for the elusive and critically endangered Hula Painted Frog Latonia nigriventer in the Bekaa Valley. Previously suspected to be extinct, its rediscovery elsewhere in 2011 has given new hope to learning more about and protecting this species. 


We’re listening

A Rocha is blessed with many faithful, generous and supportive friends. As our friend, we’d love to know more about you. Please take a few minutes to tell us who you are, how we found each other, what interests you about our work and anything else you’d like to tell us. We want to make sure we’re on the right track with our communications and donor care, and we are keen to improve and grow. The survey closes on Thursday 15 February.

As a gesture of thanks, for every 100 responses we’ll donate a sack gardening training day for a school in Uganda.