St John’s Church has received a Bronze Eco Church award in recognition of both its commitment to reducing its carbon emissions and of its encouragement of local wildlife.
The church uses renewable gas and electricity and has installed swift boxes on the side of the church to encourage swifts to nest. Swifts have suffered a dramatic decline of 50 per cent in the last 20 years, in large part because of a lack of nesting places, and boxes such as those at St John’s and St George’s in Badshot Lea, are being used to encourage the birds to breed.
Lesley Crawley said: “We are delighted to have received this award for St John’s which means that all three churches in the parish now have the bronze award. The world is in environmental crisis as global temperatures and sea levels continue to rise and species numbers decline. Only this week the Met Office has warned that summers could be five degrees hotter in the UK by 2070, with summer rainfall decreasing and sea levels rising. It is up to all of us to do something if we are to save our planet.”
Eco Church is run by A Rocha UK (ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/), a Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world. The Eco Church award scheme encourages churches in England and Wales to look at how they express their care for the world in worship and teaching; in looking after buildings and land; in engaging in both the local community and global campaigns, and in the personal lifestyles of the congregation.
There are three levels of award – bronze, silver and gold – and all three churches in the parish are now working towards a silver one.
Thank you, Winston (Burrows) for giving us not 1 but 4 desirable residences in bits of wood on some trees in St. John’s Church graveyard. We are trying to choose which home to move into. We hope that the spiders do not build their webs over the entrances to our new homes and eat us before we can get the kettle on. With much scuttling, The Insects of Lower Hale xxxxx
Yesterday nine new swift homes were added at St George’s Church, Badshot Lea. This was organised by Colin Wilson of the Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust. The boxes were built and installed by Paul Mascall and Peter Robertson, local carpenters who gave up their working time to help us.
Soon they hope to install a sound system to attract the swifts that were flying over their heads as the boxes were being installed. Colin says that “In the small churchyard there are many sparrows so there may be a battle next year for the spaces!”
We are incredibly grateful for those who gave their time to help install these boxes. Swifts need our help in finding nesting sites and hopefully nine families of swifts will soon be making use of their new homes. Thanks to to Bill Thomas, our churchwarden, who organised it all.
St George’s is an Eco-church and we want to do all we can to care for God’s creation.
The Garden is very soggy at time of writing and little work has been done but moving Swiftly on….
At the last group meeting it was suggested that we explore the possibility of having Swift boxes put up on the church. The organisations to speak to were found to be The Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust and Tices Meadow Nature Reserve.
I met their representatives at the church for a site meeting. Firstly they gave me the background as to why Swifts need our help.
Swifts are in trouble. Their numbers are declining and have more than halved nationally since 1995. They nest in eaves and because old buildings are being demolished and the methods of new building their nesting sites are disappearing. We are fortunate in our area as there is a fairly healthy population but they could still do with our help.
The eaves of St. Georges Church are ideal for creating a nesting site and because of the way they “stick out” from the wall we are able to provide an hotel rather than individual boxes which means more room for more lodgers!
The “hotel” will be fitted to the eaves of the west wall, from the southeast corner to the first buttress. It will be constructed with wood and screwed to the eaves with no drilling into the church wall. It will be virtually invisible to the casual observer. There is no cost to us as the people who make and install them are specialist volunteers who provide their expertise and materials.
Now, I expect that some of you might be thinking, “what about the mess?”. I am assured that Swifts do not deposit their guano down the walls of their nest sites but jettison it whilst in flight. Sou`westers anyone!!
The “hotel” will be installed by May this year before the Swifts return from migration. The conservationists will install, temporarily, some sound equipment which will broadcast recordings of the screeching call of Swifts. Hopefully this will encourage them to explore the site and take up residence.
We will be joining The Kilns in Badshot Lea and The Roman Catholic Cathedral in Aldershot who have also agreed to boxes or hotels on their buildings.
I hope they like us!