New record for fourth annual John Stott Memorial Birding Day

The inaugural John Stott Memorial Birding Day took place in 2021, the great man’s centenary year, to commemorate his love of birds and friendship with A Rocha. It has since developed a life of its own.  

This year teams from a record-breaking 33 countries raced to see as many species as possible in 24 hours! Congratulations to the Camper-Birders who won with a total of 136 in France, closely followed by the Scholtenses with 133 in Ontario, Canada, who had stunning views of the Northern Lights as they set out in the early hours. The KASA North Coast Tour Guides in Kenya came in third, logging an impressive 132. 

The Hong Kong Team, which included many brand new birders, stayed in the city and still identified 18 species. The Singapore Sings claim they saw the rarest species of the day – a Critically Endangered Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus, and the team in Chile persevered through snow and sickness.  

With so many stunning photographs entered for the competition, judging was challenging. Congratulations to the worthy winners. 


Buzzing with life: conserving Lebanon’s wild bees in Mekse Nature Park

As Lebanon grapples with urbanization, deforestation and waste management crises, A Rocha Lebanon has created a unique space – Mekse Nature Park – from a former landfill. After five years of restoration, it has a Conservation Garden and a Centre for Biodiversity and Agroecology, and has become a vital green space offering refuge from environmental degradation and a platform for practical conservation work.

Located in Lebanon’s fertile Bekaa Valley, the 3.5-hectare park is a public garden where alternative techniques compatible with biodiversity can be observed as native trees and shrubs provide food for wildlife and promote a healthy habitat for birds, reptiles and invertebrates – including bees!

The Conservation Garden has an area dedicated to wild bees’ habitat and unconventional beehives, with examples such as hives in empty tree stumps and enclosed with rammed earth on display.

The adjoining Centre for Biodiversity and Agroecology strengthens community education in environmental issues and hosts exhibitions and workshops, beginning with an exhibition on wild bees, thanks to collaboration with the international expert, Dr Mira Boustani, and her collection of 574 species of Lebanese wild bees. The exhibition included informational drawings and displays, a workshop by Dr Boustani on the wild bees of Lebanon, and a hands-on planting day where volunteers planted 400 lavender seedlings to support wild bee habitat.

By working on common land (arḍ mašā‘ in Arabic) A Rocha Lebanon engages stakeholders in project design and implementation and ensures the sustainability of initiatives, including supporting wild bees and habitat restoration, and educational programmes for local schools and refugee children. The Mekse site aims to become a lighthouse on biodiversity and agroecology and to attract people by developing a market of local producers, hosting visitors and providing a discussion space dedicated to ecology.  Learn more about Mekse Nature Park 


A Rocha in Singapore gains momentum with ‘Missional Discipleship and Sustainability’ conference

On 11 May A Rocha held a ‘Missional Discipleship and Sustainability’ conference as part of the work towards officially launching in Singapore. A Rocha’s presence in Singapore has grown out of the very first Friends of A Rocha group, set up 12 years ago by Mel Ong  (pictured here on the right, with Prarthi Selveindran), who opened the conference by sharing some of the history. 

The conference was a collaboration between A Rocha International (whose board of trustees were in Singapore for their annual in-person meeting), the Biblical Graduate School of Theology (BGST:; the Fellowship of Evangelical Students (FES:; Creation Care Singapore (CCSG:; and the hosts, Katong Presbyterian Church (KPC: 

Some 200 people gathered from a range of contexts, from business to science to church ministry. Two-thirds of attendees had not been to a creation care conference before. The expressed hope was that the different aspects of our community and lives would become increasingly integrated so that we might become more whole, with God in every part of our lives.  

Sessions ranged from theology (Dr Hilary Marlow and Rev Dr Dave Bookless), to a panel discussion on finance and investment, an overview of the state of the climate (Dr Rodel Lasco) and contemplative prayer, along with a number of other local and international contributions.  

It was a rich day. As one person eloquently expressed it, ‘[I learned that] creation care requires all hands on deck – not just the ‘science people’ but also the lawyers, policymakers, marketers, designers… even simply advocates, to work together to care for His creation… Comforted yet armed with knowledge and sweet fellowship, this conference has definitely enabled me to live life for Christ in this seemingly contemporary but definitely redemptive manner – to care for his creation, to enable it to flourish and be a witness for Christ’s original redeeming act in this way.’