From 4-12 June 2022, Churches Count on Nature brings local people together to discover the wildlife in their local church yard. It is a nationwide project open to all churches, run in partnership by Caring for God's Acre, A Rocha UK, the Church of England Environment Programme, and the Church in Wales.
During Churches Count on Nature, the Church of England Environment Programme are running a special series of webinars on different aspects of land and nature.
Find help with biological recording, how to managing your grassland, find your faith in trees, hear from the Church Commissioners, learn about bats, oceans, growing food and faith, and far more.
Below, you can find details and booking links for all 12 webinars.
You can also find the whole playlist from our 2021 season on YouTube.
To help you prepare, in advance of Churches Count on Nature:
- Knowing your ant from your elder" Why and how to record during Churches Count on Nature Two dates:
Monday 6th June:
- Noon - Life on the Edge: Exploring the Oceans through Science and Faith. BOOK HERE
- 4pm - Getting involved in the Bats in Churches Project. BOOK HERE
Tuesday 7th June:
Wednesday 8th June
- Noon - How the Church Commissioners are managing land for climate and nature. BOOK HERE
- 4pm - Blooming and Beautiful - flower rich churchyards. BOOK HERE
Thursday 9th June
- Noon - The Nature Recovery Network. BOOK HERE
- 4pm - Sustaining church: Using your church spaces for growing food and growing mission. BOOK HERE
Friday 10th June
More info on topics and speakers
This practical session will help you get ready for your Churches Count on Nature event. It will tell you why biological recording in churchyards and burial grounds is so important, and how to do it, pitched at the interested beginner.
Plants, birds, trees, insects, small mammals, and much more all abound in our precious green spaces. How do we figure out what we've got? And once we've identified it, how do we log the information?
You will be shown how to use the app iNaturalist, and how it links through to the National Biodiversity Network database, and from there into the Church Heritage Record.
Speaker: Harriet Carty, Director of the conservation charity Caring for Gods Acre.
Mon 6th June, noon-1pm, BOOK HERE
23 of our Diocese have coastal boundaries, a total of 2,663 miles. ‘No-one is more than 70 miles from the sea’.
This webinar explores the challenges and opportunities in finding ways that churches can deepen and enrich their congregations’ understanding of blue issues as well as green issues, and the relationship between ocean, science and faith.
Speaker: David Curry is the Exeter Diocese Environmental Advisor (voluntary)
Mon 6th June, 4-5pm BOOK HERE
As part of the Bats in Churches Project, we are carrying out surveys to understand more about bats' use of churches.
Everyone can take part. This talk will cover what we’ve learnt so far and how you can get involved in the final and, hopefully, busiest year of surveys.
Speaker: Claire Boothby is the Training and Survey Officer for the Bats in Churches Project.
Tue 7th June, noon-1pm BOOK HERE
This webinar will look at the 'Land' section of the Eco Church framework.
Land is a key category of Eco Church and whether a church has a significant amount of land, a thin border of land around the main building, or even a paved over area, there is plenty that can be done to manage the land for nature and people.
This webinar will look at just some of the many possibilities for managing church land, drawing on examples from bronze, silver and gold awarded churches.
Speaker: Helen Stephens is Church Relations Manager at A Rocha UK and oversees the Eco Church programme.
Tue 7th June, 4-5pm, BOOK HERE
This webinar will talk about what the wood has to tell us : Christian symbolism of trees/Counting the rings - trees in our history/Wood, foliage, fruit - using and delighting in trees/Who belongs in the wood - native trees and incomers/Joining in the story - planting trees and wilding.
Speaker: John Rodwell works as a priest and ecologist together. He is co-author of Creating New Native Woodlands and chair of the Land & Biodiversity Group of Diocesan Environmental Officers.
Wed 8th June, noon-1pm, BOOK HERE
With a significant rural portfolio the Church Commissioners for England are seeking to lead the way in managing their land to address the climate and biodiversity crises.
This webinar will provide an overview of the Commissioners’ farm holdings and the recent work undertaken on carbon and natural capital baselining.
There will also be a chance to have a deeper dive to look at the collaborative links established with other environmental groups; how the Commissioners are engaging with their farm tenants and some of the positive initiatives that are ongoing.
Speakers: Ciara Williams and Guy Webb are asset managers responsible for the oversight of the Commissioners’ rural portfolio and delivery of strategy. Both are Chartered Surveyors and having previously worked as land agents both Ciara and Guy have an in-depth understanding of the challenges currently faced by farmers and landowners during the agricultural transition.
Wed 8th June, 4-5pm, BOOK HERE
Since 1945, 97% of flower rich grassland – once widespread in the countryside – has vanished. Many churchyards act as havens for this and the associated animals.
Broadly speaking burial sites dating pre 1945 are likely to have a rich variety of plants and just need the right management to help it to flower in all its glory.
Andrea Gilpin from CfGA hosts this webinar exploring how to manage churchyard grassland in a way that encourages wildflowers whilst being sensitive to visitors’ needs.
Speaker: Andrea Gilpin works for conservation charity Caring for God’s Acre, where she leads on advising people in managing their burial ground, along with developing and delivering projects. Her background is in ecology.
Thur 9th June, noon-1pm, BOOK HERE
This webinar will introduce the Nature Recovery Network (NRN).
The NRN will be a single network of joined up, wildlife rich sites, helping us to reverse species declines across England by improving and creating habitat.
Establishing the NRN will also enable us to enjoy and connect with nature where we live, work and play - benefiting our health and wellbeing.
Speakers: Tony Juniper is chair of Natural England. Before Joining Natural England he was the Executive Director for Advocacy and Campaigns at WWF-UK and President of the Wildlife Trusts. Jenny Griggs is Natural England's Social Inclusion Senior Adviser. Rev’d Suzanne Cooke is Vicar, St Mary's Wooler.
Thur 9th June, 4-5pm, BOOK HERE
Come along to be inspired by models of community food growing and outdoor worship, as part of Christian communities that are engaging with creation and climate emergency.
Hazelnut Community Farm is creating a sustainable model of church and community engagement, able to flourish in a climate crisis. They use urban agriculture, food production, and waste management as tools for social innovation, economic inclusion, and political & spiritual transformation.
Speaker: Revd John White, Founder, Hazelnut Community Farm and Revd Lucy Sablan.
Fri 10th June, noon-1pm, BOOK HERE
Very few of us own a large estate or our own allotments or nature reserve, but it is still entirely possible even in a very small urban space to transform it for nature and in doing so provide a place where mental and physical health can be improved as well as tackling wildlife loss and climate impacts.
This webinar will take a creative look at how to make best use of small areas at a time when the pressure on nature and on our own health is greater than ever.
Join us for an exploration of the incredible actions we can all take to make small spaces work for people and nature.
Speaker: Andy Lester is Head of Conservation at A Rocha Uk (the charity behind Eco Church and much more)
Fri 10th June, 4-5pm, BOOK HERE
This last webinar in the series ends with the big picture, for the UK and globally, and how this relates to local action.
You will get an overview of the twin crises we face (climate change and biodiversity loss) and the linked solutions that exist, which can come from becoming "nature positive". It will touch on this year's two international COPs, on bio-diversity and climate, and how they link to national and local responses.
What could the UK's route be to becoming Nature Positive, whilst also contributing to meeting Net Zero commitments here in the UK?
Speaker: Pete Brotherton is Director of Science and Climate Change at Natural England, the Diocesan Environment Officer for Peterborough Diocese, and honorary Lay Canon of Peterborough Cathedral.
The recordings of our 13 webinars from 2021 can be found in a playlist on YouTube here, or individually below.
- Nature and climate : twin crises, shared solutions watch recording (starts at 2mins15)
- Forest Church watch recording
- The National Burial Grounds Survey watch recording
- Finding our faith in trees watch recording
- 5 steps to good management of your churchyard or burial ground watch recording
- Practical examples from Bristol Dioceses of churchyards managed for nature watch recording
- Blooming and beautiful : flower-rich grasslands watch recording
- Bats in Churches watch recording