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Counting on Nature

by Michael Ford last modified 18 Jun, 2021 10:03 PM

Well-established parish-school links bring fresh life and understanding, and often some fun too!

Counting on Nature

Checking the moth trap

St Michael’s Aldbourne churchyard teemed with life as all seven classes at St Michael’s CofE Primary School visited it during the week-long Churches Count on Nature (5-13th June).

Revd Rhona Floate, Rural Field Officer for Wilts, says:

"Under the watchful eyes of Emily Best and Eleanor Williamson from the Eco Church Team, each group spent an hour or more being wildlife detectives using their senses and monitoring equipment to survey the wildlife in the churchyard.

"They found slow worms, hedgehog footprints in all corners of the churchyard, and also numerous small mammal tracks: vole, mouse, rat, and cats!"

Counting on Nature- checking footprints
Checking footprints

Emily commented:

“One of the highlights was exploring what had been attracted into our moth trap overnight. We found over 48 species during the course of the week ranging from small brown and grey (but very beautiful) moth species to those which were bright yellow or pink and even the big and striking hawk-moths.”

Below: Hawk Moth
Counting on Nature- Hawk Moth

Below: Elephant Hawk Moth
Counting on Nature- Elephant Hawk Moth

The visits started with collective worship led by local clergy, based on “God put man in the garden of Eden to look after it and take care of it” (Genesis chapter 2, verse 15).

Later, the children found ten stones painted with pictures of animals hidden around the churchyard. Turning them over and putting them in order, they spelt out the verse, as a reminder of the message shared with them at the start.

The week ended with a 'bio blitz' for all ages to get involved in, with craft activities, talks about the peregrines that roost on tower and other airborne regulars including swifts and serotine bats, plus a special service led by Revd Rhona Floate, RFO for Wilts.

Rhona adds:

“I pinged an email to the Eco-Church Team about the Churches Count on Nature and the whole thing just took off from there. They’ve done an amazing job!”

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