Churches across all denominations in England and Wales can now register to participate in Churches Count on Nature, an annual scheme where people visit churchyards and record the plant and animal species they encounter.
The biodiversity survey, supported by environmental charities A Rocha UK and Caring for God’s Acre, as well as the Church of England and the Church in Wales, will take place from June 3 to 11, 2023.
In the last two years, 900 counting events took place across churches in England and Wales, and over 27,000 wildlife records were submitted to Caring for God’s Acre. The data will be used to determine where different species are located in the country. This can aid churches of all denominations in increasing biodiversity on their land for the enrichment of the environment and local communities. This year, species on some of the 17,500 acres of churchyards in England alone will be mapped, with a further 1,282 acres of churchyards in Wales.
Could you engage with the natural world and take part in this churchyard wildlife count this summer?
Helen Stephens, Church Relations Manager at A Rocha UK, says, “We have rich and stunning nature in the UK, but much of it is under threat like never before. There is a significant role for us to play in our churches and on church land, often rich in biodiversity, in helping to protect and restore nature. A great first step is to discover and delight in what’s on our church doorstep(s) by counting, for example, plants, insects, birds, mammals, or any other aspect of nature that we may not stop to notice but which we count on in so many ways. Whether it’s something common like a daisy or slightly exotic like a Spotted flycatcher, we’d love to know what you find to help build a fuller picture of what can be found – and cared for – on church land. You don’t need to be an expert, and it’s a great thing to do in your community with others, especially children.”
Churches Count on Nature is part of Love Your Burial Ground Week, which is open to anyone with a love of nature and any church that has land. We’re encouraging churches to connect with local schools, wildlife groups, and those who may not have visited before to discover their churchyards.
A series of land and nature webinars are also running throughout CCoN, including a webinar led by our own Eco Church Officer for Wales, Delyth Higgins and how to run a CConN event (18 May with Caring for God’s Acre). Please find more information on the webinars here.
The full press release can be found on our Media page here.