A Rocha UK’s vision for our nature reserves, rural Foxearth Meadows in Sudbury, Essex, and urban, Wolf Fields in Southall, west London, is to demonstrate what Christians working with local churches and community, can achieve on small pieces to land, and inspire others to do the same. The reserves, along with the activities we organise on them, are perfect for connecting people with nature, with each other with God. As we head into 2020, we thank God for all that has happened on the reserves this year, as well as for all the committed volunteers who have got us thus far!
Wolf Fields’ closed it’s gates for 2019 with a prayer walk and the unveiling of a new art installation. Volunteers gathered to reflect on the year’s challenges and successes – 40 major events reaching over 1000 people – and to pray that more seeds will be sown both physically and spiritually in the new year. A film team came to capture the wonderful moment when a local school pupil got to meet the recycled-metal owl sculpture that they had designed in a competition for the proposed art installation area.
The new sculpture is a testament to the links that have been forged with the local community and we look forward to developing these relationships further as well as exploring new ventures. Other community groups, such as Southall Night Shelter, local scout and college students and Asian Congregations for example, have expressed their interest in future joint events. As Wolf Fields lease from the local council expires soon, please join us in praying that the lease will be renewed for another six years and God will continue to work through this small patch of land for His glory!
Similarly, the Foxearth Meadows team have been reaching out to new groups and working with neighbouring landowners to keep people, nature and God at the forefront of A Rocha UK’s activities.
Altogether, in 2019, Foxearth Meadows organised and hosted: three schools; thirteen different groups, clubs and churches; held two outdoor worship services and two prayer walks; three FoxeARTh art sessions; a National Meadows Day event; an evening bat walk; a dawn chorus walk (with alfresco breakfast); a dragonfly identification day; and an outside broadcast with Radio Essex. The final event of 2019 saw the Foxearth Meadows team work alongside Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley volunteers to ‘free the trees’ and remove 5 dumpy bags full of plastic spiral guards from an area surrounding the reserve. Please do pray for more opportunities to collaborate with neighbouring landowners.
Thanks to the help of volunteers this past year, we have been able to advance our species monitoring programmes and upload data on over 460 species to the Essex Wildlife Trust’s Biological Recording Centre. The Foxearth Meadows team are keen to advance their schools work too and hope that invitations to nearly 30 schools to visit the reserve will soon be confirmed dates in the 2020 calendar.
We are delighted to announce A Rocha UK’s CEO, Andy Atkins will be speaking at Foxearth Meadows’ open air service on 17 May 2020. Foxearth Meadows will also hold its first Supporter Day on 4 July 2020 and first Churches Open Day on 18 July 2020.
Due to the success of the first Churches Open Day, Wolf Fields in Southall will again be opening its gates on 27 June 2020 for those interested in exploring what’s possible on a small patch of urban land. For the opportunity to meet with A Rocha UK staff and other supporters at Wolf Fields, please mark 23 May 2020 in your diary.