Our new appeal asks for your help to make the Christian stand on nature protection heard, because as Britain leaves the EU, policies that affect nature protection in the UK are being decided right now. We need to get Christian churches, centres and individuals moving fast to show their care for God's earth, giving us a real chance of making a difference.
This blog is the first in a series of guest blogs showing how Christians are already making a difference and demonstrating what caring for God's earth means in real terms.
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I start each day by topping up the bird feeders situated just outside our dining room. I often see guests watching with joy out the window as blue tits, great tits, goldfinch and others swarm around the feeders, making the most of a feast over the winter when food is scarce. More recently we have gained a resident pheasant that likes to polish off the crumbs on the ground.
One of the best things about living at Lee Abbey is the abundant wildlife. With 280 acres of land there is no shortage. Predominantly woodland and pasture – we even have our own beach! An exciting new endeavour we have recently taken on is SeaWatch, introduced to us by Exmoor National Park. In August, we spotted three Harbour Porpoises, including a mother and calf, who enchanted us with their swimming and feeding behaviour. The great thing about Sea Watch is that anyone can do it, and it’s a good way to get involved with those who work to protect sea life.
Another way we help protect sea life is through beach cleans where our guests can get involved too.
Three times a year we host estate working parties where guests come to join us in caring for our estate. This year we began to build a bug hotel out of wood, bamboo sticks and bark. Once it is finished it will provide an important home for bugs such as solitary bees, woodlice, ladybirds and beetles which love dark, damp places. Some insects will even use it to hibernate over the winter. Bug hotels are a great refuge which in a time where insects are in trouble is just one thing we can do to help. See below for links to bug house builds.
In the summer, we create a prayer labyrinth on the front lawn. A couple years ago we sowed Yellow Rattle seeds amongst our prayer labyrinth and already I have seen the flowers spread and the bumblebees come, a lovely sight. This year we have sown Snakes-head Fritillaries nearby, an already vulnerable wildflower that is great for bees. We are looking forward to seeing how these fritillaries will turn out in the spring!
Lots more information on garden-scale conservation can be found in the 'Land' section of our Eco Church resources, here: