Judith Allinson, Green Christian’s Web Editor, writes:
….. In your garden.. in the brownfield sites near where you live.. amongst the weeds and trees as you go jogging, or wait at the station, or in the cracks in the pavement.
What will you find today?
Try Flowers – or Bees – or Freshwater biology – Or Beetles – or Lichens
In four weeks time leaves will be coming out on the trees. and simultaneously a flush of insects.. caterpillars eager to eat the soft young leaves before the leaves become tough and hard
You can go on courses at the Field Studies Council in 17 Centres throughout UK -from birdwatching to butterflies, from snails to sedges, from wildflowers to waders.. make your choice. (If you are not well off but are a student it is worth enquiring about bursaries ) Or go on a specially designed family holiday there.
Go go out with your local natural history society. They welcome new members. Find out about yours through The Wildlife Trusts or if in Yorkshire, The YNU which has over 40 -yes forty – different natural history societies.
Encourage someone from your local natural history society to come and give a talk to a church group. Display your Local Natural History Society’s Calendar of events.
If you present a talk, give the audience chance to contribute too, make time to listen to them.
If any of you have “Good News” stories about churches or Christians helping children and other people learn about plants (or beetles or fungi for that matter) do let me know. Or visit A Rocha Website for some examples.
Isabel describes a potato growing competition at her church:
We did a potato focus in our church a couple of years back. We gave all the youngsters a seed potato (plus any adult who wanted one) with brief instructions on how to plant and look after it (using garden, pot or plastic bag etc). Then we set a weekend for digging them up and either weighing them at home (with trusted adult to sign) or bringing them to church for a weigh in (with a prize or two – I think of a load of seeds).
There was a focus in the service on growing things and multiplying followed of course by a meal of baked potatoes with fillings. Some adults had never grown a potato – let along the youngsters. It meant that we had brief inputs into 4 services (with reminder time), time in the children’s groups and one service to focus on growing veg.
Mean while – have you heard of the term “Mossy Church”? – A cross between Messy Church and Forest Church?
Now I have to get down to preparing for this year’s Lichens Beginners Workshop at Horton in Ribblesdale on 2 April
Once you know plant and animal names it is easier to talk to them. I find my walks become so enriched when I can stop and say “Hello Map lichen” , “Hello Cuckoo pint” as I go past, or if looking for edible plants “Hello Ground elder” or “Hello St George’s Mushroom.”
It DOES take time to get to learn to identify a group of organisms. Perhaps learning identification is a good candidate for the SLOW movement. But it is worth it.
“Consider the Lilies of the field….”