Our chief Andy Atkins launched the week with a whistle-stop tour of the crisis facing the planet. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Andy introduced the theme of hope and the opportunity to roll out practical solutions much faster – which flowed through the rest of the programme.
People said ‘farewell’ to Hannah Hereward, our marine researcher who’s completing an MA in marine conservation. She’s been working in partnership with A Rocha UK, A Rocha International, Lee Abbey and Plymouth University – and spoke during the week to local dignitaries and charity leaders of her findings.
We’ve followed Hannah’s research, which has looked at the impact of blue-rayed limpets on kelp. This large seaweed is an essential component in the ocean’s eco-system. Hannah has also produced a ‘Top Ten Scavenger Hunt’ for families who want to explore Lee Abbey’s wildlife-rich coastline.
Guests were treated to additional workshops from our leadership team. Conservation Director Andy Lester (pictured) ran a boat safari, kick boxing classes and a drumming workshop – and Andy Atkins taught painting skills. Many guests commented on how the Lee Abbey/A Rocha UK week inspired them to act. Several are already on their way to signing up for Eco Church.
Lee Abbey has been a key partner of ours now for a number of years and takes its commitment to nature conservation very seriously. For the last few years it’s been running its own mini hydro-electricity scheme, using water from a local river. It powers at least 30 per cent of the electricity needed for the house.
The centre is also taking part in A Rocha UK’s ambitious plans to conserve declining wildlife. Lee Abbey is busy creating new habitat and a monitoring scheme for its resident adder and slowworm populations.