Did you know that Bishop Donald is Patron of our diocesan Churchyard Conservation Scheme? He has been encouraging all the churches in the diocese to develop management of churchyards for the conservation of wildlife, balancing this with the peace and beauty which churchyards provide. Caring for God's creation is an important part of our calling as Christians.
A variety of wildlife is a sign of a healthy environment for us to live in, and churchyards have a significant role to play in this, particularly as they usually have unimproved grassland (ie free from fertilisers and chemicals). With the help of the Rutland Natural History Society, we have produced an impressive (but by no means exhaustive) list of the wildlife found in our own churchyard, and this is found in the spreadsheet below. It includes some interesting and more unusual species that tend to be overlooked, such as lichens, plant galls and King Alfred's Cake (a fungus). There are various insects, plants and animals, including Speckled Bush Crickets, a hedgehog and a roosting kestrel. A visitor from Sussex who was looking round our church was especially interested to hear about the treecreeper we had spotted. We aim to produce further periodic counts as time goes by. It will be interesting to see if we can increase the health of our environment, hopefully with the help of just a few simple changes! We have already put up a bird feeder and a nestbox!
Here are some things you can do in your patch:
- Build a compost heap, for reptiles and small mammals.
- Plant hedges, trees, herbs, providing cover and food for birds/mammals.
- Provide bird, bat and insect boxes, plus log piles.
- Leave small plants and lichens on walls/monuments.
- Remove grass cuttings from mown areas to encourage wild flowers.
- Make a 5inch hole so hedgehogs can access your garden.
Happy wildlife watching!