Churchyards are havens for wild nature, even in a busy city like London – all the more so for those churchyards that are the only green space in their area.
The Church of England and Diocese of London are rightly focussing on the challenge of climate change in our commitment to care for God Creation. But the natural world is God’s Creation. Not only is all nature precious in God’s eyes, and should be treated as such by us, but also wildlife helps to regulate the climate. We should do all we can to cherish the wildlife in our churchyards.
Join in with this dedicated week to celebrate your burial ground! Please run an event during this week.
Together with the Church of England, the Church in Wales and A Rocha the dedicated charity Caring for God’s Acre is asking churches from all denominations to start recording the wildlife within their churchyards. You can run a wildlife spotting event by joining in with Churches Count on Nature.
CCoN is a great, practical way to support biodiversity and engage the community. Activities in previous years have included family bug hunts, welcomes to the dawn chorus (followed by breakfast!), illustrated talks, wildflower identification, tree trails, volunteer work party sessions. In London in 2021:
Local people were given a special chance to visit their churchyard, to find out about the wildlife and plants that are present, to help spot and identify more, and generally to interest people in looking carefully at their surroundings
Among activities for children and adults, Brownie packs, Scout group and Sunday School members identified flora and fauna with the help of their leaders
One church while opening the church garden to the public, laid on a cream tea with brass band!
St Mary with St Alban Teddington was our clear winner, with a formal blessing in the churchyard for the week, visits by children from the local school, a quiz, guided walks, a nature trail, talks on the history and significance of the churchyard, its trees and other flora, on bee keeping, on the graves, a choir recital in the churchyard with wine in return for a donation, churchyard teas, an open-air Songs of Praise and finally a service in the churchyard with special thanksgiving!
So, you may choose to run one event, several or to have an open day for people to drop in and record what wildlife they see. If you are recording wildlife during the week, please submit your records to Caring for God’s Acre. Everything has value – from the smallest ladybird to the most venerable yew tree, graceful beech or majestic oak. Even furtive Master Fox or the most raucous of parakeets have their place.
Would you like copies of our Starter Guide to help people get started with recording wildlife? Email Caring for God’s Creation if you would like copies in the post. CfGA will also include their Field Studies Council fold-out chart – Guide to Wildlife of Burial Grounds.
Whatever you are planning, please do register your activity so it can be publicised. Make sure your information is complete and correct before clicking ‘submit’. Once events are registered, you can see them here.
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