Thursday, 31 December 2009

Calendars for 2010

I have been selling calendars in aid of the rainforest fund, as well as greetings cards and Christmas Cards. the calendars cost £2-00 - They can also be used as greetings cards.


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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Monday, 14 December 2009

Pictures of Settle Vigil for Copenhagen on 12 Dec

Twenty people came to the vigil on 12th December, that I publicised in the blog below on 11 December. You can see the pictures at the AVAAZ Flickr website at  http://bit.ly/7jUtIZ



Friday, 11 December 2009

What makes Settle's Candlelit Vigil for Copenhagen special?

We are having a vigil for Copenhagen on Saturday 12th December from 5pm to 6pm on Settle Market Square.

What makes it special and why should you come to it?

  1. All the 220 vigils taking place in the UK are special as are the over 2000 vigils taking place world wide - 
  2. Vigils show we have concern for the idea that there should be a Fair Deal at Copenhagen.
  3. They give us chance to show solidarity with the people working at Copenhagen and world wide to secure this
  4. The vigils give us chance to meet with each other and to interact with our own community.
  5. And what a community and place Settle is. This vigil is being organised by "Settle Eco-Nite" a loose network of people who meet on the first Wednesday evening of each month and the vigil is for everyone.
  6. Settle has a pledge plant: - It stands on the cobbles in the Market Square.
    . -- A Topic tree,
      -- with a commitment crown
      -- of leaves loaded with  uplifting lists of promises, priorities and practical actions.

Come to Settle, in the Craven Dales of North Yorkshire,  get a leaf from the shop next door (Practically Everything) or cut out your own leaf and put it on the tree. (We hope it will stay up from now until the New Year)

Come to the Vigil at 5-6pm on Saturday.  Bring warm clothes and a candle.
 We'll share stories, silence and maybe even songs.

Here is a  poster (in pdf) about the event

See you.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Wave Climate Service at London 5 December Press Release

I have just been sent the churches' joint press release about this morning's  service Climate Service at Westminster Methodist Central Hall, London,  with leaders from the major UK denominations speaking.

I have put the press release on Christian Ecology Link's  website plus two of the press pictures they sent: It really is worth reading there is a lot of detail.

- The Hall looks packed from the pictures. It must have been good to have been there.  Many of my friends from Christian Ecology Link would be there (maybe more than 20 or 30 of them, including  several going down with Bradford and Lancaster organised trips) amongst the other more than  3000 people at the service.


(Official press photo of the Wave Service at Westminster Central Hall. Everyone had to wear blue gloves to wave!)

I know a lot of people who were taking part - so it is nice to think of them attending the Rally now as I write this.
 .............................................

I spent this morning at Langcliffe (my village) Christmas Craft  Event selling my Greetings Cards and
Calendars in Aid of the "Rainforest Fund run by a group at Settle Methodist Church". I only sold £40-00 worth - but £40-00 (apparently) is enough to buy/protect half an acre. Half an acre!!.

Now I shall go down to my local church - with a print out of the Press Release and ask them in the intercession prayer request notebook to consider using  the Day of Prayer Climate Change prayer
tomorrow morning, or something similar..

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Monday, 30 November 2009

Malham Tarn Environment Research Seminar November 2009

I have just had a great weekend.

I used to work at Malham Tarn Field Centre in the limestone area of the Yorkshire Dales  and I still live seven miles away from it. On alternate years they have a Seminar in November for people who have done research there or are interested in research.

On Saturday there were about 15 talks on topics: about caving and cave conservation; about diatoms in the tarn and sediments in the tarn; about dolines (pre-glacial solution hollows), the biggest ones being highest up. On "The Yellow Sedge" a plant which only grows in three places in England, including at  Malham Tarn; about management of the Malham Tarn Estate; about the native white crayfish and efforts to conserve it as the American Signal Crayfish and the Crayfish Plague (brought in with the signal crayfish) have resulted in its disappeaing from most of our streams; about a national Banded Snail Survey that the Field Centre does with the sixth formers that go for courses there - and then the students can repeat the same project at home. http://www.evolutionmegalab.org/en_GB/

A talk was given about some records made in the 1350s of costs and receipts running a monastic sheep farm near Malham. He showed aerial photos of the monastic a sheep(milking) house on Malham Moor and
showed it was part of a bigger complex.  The records had been copied by hand in Latin in in the 1540s.  It showed the importance of records.

A lecturer from Bradford showed the results of pollen analysis made in a peat section on the bog next to the Tarn which tells us about the past 8000 years or so.

A fresh water ecologist showed me the graphs of how species increase and decrease in cycles in the Tarn of about 10 years.
   He was concerned that records that had been made for a long period in the past about water nutrient content were no longer being made. We need long runs of data to monitor changes. For example there is more nitrogen chemicals in the water now due to pollution from the air

A lady from the National Trust chaired it very well, keeping people to time.

We had good food, including beef that (they thought) came from Darnbrook, a local farm.

On Sunday, those people that had stayed on had planned to go for short walks the morning. It was foul wet rainy weather with some sleet. One group went to see "The Yellow Sedge". One group went to Ha Mire to look for certain features of a bog area.

I wanted to do the OPAL lichen survey at Malham Tarn and the two tutors there were keen to try it out. So we downloaded and laminated the lichen picture key/chart (lamination valuable in the wet weather we were having). http://www.opalexplorenature.org/?q=AirSurvey
People have used lichens for over 40 years for looking at sulphur dioxide air pollution - The big bearded lichens only grow where there is pure air, and in very polluted areas you only get a green alga called Diplomacies (used to be Pleura). However sulphur dioxide pollution is much lower now since we closed many of the coal fired power stations, used methods of taking the SO2 out,  nd exported our heavy industry to China and other countries, and closed down the textile industries which kept The Lancashire and Yorkshire Cotton Mill towns going 20 miles to the Se and SW So some of the sensitive lichens are coming back.

However this lichen survey looks at air pollution due to nitrogen oxides and possibly ammonia due to car exhausts and farm fertilizers. Some lichens will only grow where there is a very low concentration of these chemicals, other species will grow where there is a high concentration.

Anyway we went out, well wrapped up against the cold and wet and came back in and by the time we had entered our results in the national survey online we felt proud of ourselves.

In the afternoon I went for a walk (eventually by myself) following the Tarn Outflow Stream to see how far it was flowing beyond the normal sink hole. It was flowing about 1/4 mile to the next major sink hole, but not as far as the "dry waterfall" at Watlowes valley.. which was still dry in spite of the continuous heavy rain.

Do have a look at the OPAL website - It is very easy to do the Sycamore Tar Spot survey (now on leaves on the ground). The lichen survey is a little more detailed but very interesting and worth while trying. http://www.opalexplorenature.org/?q=AirSurvey
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Sunday, 22 November 2009

Settle Hydro - almost ready

On the morning of Wednesday 18th, we had solid rain and I looked at the river Ribble outside my house which was as high as I had seen it all year. I looked on the internet but (then) no BBC news of floods. I was surprised the river was so high. (It was the next day in Cumbria that the floods really took off!)

Later that day when the water had gone down (or a day near then, I think,) I stopped at the Settle Hydro and asked how long it would be till it was finished and had the floods damaged everything.

No the floods had not damaged anything - but it had been really useful to test the system under flood conditions!!. The screw had been tested that day working for the first time and they were going to do more tests. Much of the work left just involved tidying up and landscaping the surface .. So it might be ready mid December!!

Well, Here is to the 1st of January.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Settle Hydro - The Archimedean Screw Arrives


They have been digging and preparing the site at Settle weir since summer. Settle hydro is a community project in Settle. Today - 28 Oct - The crane and the Archimedean screw arrived.

I was driving into Settle to attend Craven Conservation Group Fungus Foray - I saw the commotion and thought - "This is too important to miss."

video

video

Here is where the screw was placed initially.


This has four blades. (Larger screws would only have three.)
They are starting to lift it now

Up and over

.. have to remove some blocks from the lintel above the door
There it's in now. Attach some bolts..


See Mark Dale's excellent pictures at photobucket.com

More details about the project


In the background of the pictures above is Lords Wood and some pasture on the hill beyond. This is where I did eventually catch up with the fungus foray - examining a fairy ring of Clouded of Agarics (Clitocybe nebularis)

They had a good day.(Interested? See www.craven-conservation-group.org.uk and Mid Yorkshire Ffungus Group www.myfg.org.uk)

And quite a few of us went back to see the Settle Hydro.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Archbishop of Canterbury's lecture on 13 Oct 2009

The Climate Crisis: Fashioning a Christian Response

Due to a meeting I was in London on 13 October and so was able to go to hear Dr Rowan Williams. Over 1000 people had filled Southwark Cathedral to hear the Archbishop. You can read the text of his speech on his website. I was pleased I had gone early enough to get a seat beside the central aisle and spent time leaning out into the central aisle trying to take a picture without flash... grateful in the knowledge that if I did not catch everything he said, the text would be put up on line afterwards (Read it here)

In question time he said things that I found a bit more concrete: .. these answers do not appear to be online but this is what I remember as the gist of what he said:

That perhaps we (the audience) could be the Wilberforces and the Martin Luther Kings of the Green movement.

That God had created the world and "saw that it was good". that he had created us in his image .. so we should see that it is good too, and so look after it.

On rereading his speech I see he does not mention anything about the evidence that CO2 is the main driver of global warming -(allowing people to play it both ways). It is an academic lecture after all. And his lecture will stand in three years or thirty years time whichever way it turns out. He said

"Mike Hulme, in a provocative and original new book, Why We Disagree About Climate Change, argues that the anxieties around global warming and related matters are actually a welcome opportunity for us to look hard at fundamental issues concerning our social and ethical situation. He quotes (p.354) the somewhat startling remarks of a former Canadian government minister who said that even if the science around climate change was mistaken, the focus on the question had provided the best possible impetus towards more equality and justice in the world."

At the bottom of the post I will put some useful quotes from his written text. But I would like to tell you about the three great points about the day for me -

  1. To be privileged to hear the leader of the C of E give a talk about care of the environment in this ancient Cathedral
  2. To walk from Westminster, then along the shingle beach of the south bank of the Thames, waves lapping on the flint pebbles of the shore, two fishermen fishing from a jetty, with St Pauls, opposite, the Gherkin and bridges lit by the setting sun . History. (And how high would the Thames rise?) and (sadly) how high will buildings rise around St Pauls?
  3. Asking my neighbours in the congregation "Who are you?" (well a bit more politely than that) - each answer delighted me.. It was like opening those little pictures on an advent calendar. I remet a man I had met 12 years ago - now ordained; - I met Ben Brangwyn of the Transition Towns Movement - I met Thaddeus Dell who is the the Carbon reduction Policy Officer of the Methodist Church; I met a lady who had come all the way from Sheffield specially for the talk.

Here are some quotes from his speech:

"To act so as to protect the future of the non-human world is both to accept a God-given responsibility and appropriately to honour the special dignity given to humanity itself."

“Each of us can bring pressure to bear on institutions we are connected with to conduct a rigorous carbon audit; for those involved in the Church of England, the website of the Shrinking the Footprint initiative offers help with such projects.”

“There are the various specific choices we can make about our refuse, our travel, our domestic energy use”

“But I'd want also to underline the need for us to change our habits enough to make us more aware of the diversity of life around us. I once suggested that one necessary contribution to a better awareness of these issues was to make sure we went out of doors in the wet from time to time (a suitable lesson from Noah...), and – if we haven't got gardens of our own – make sure we took opportunities of watching the changing of the seasons on the earth's surface.”

I liked this last one best – we have plenty of opportunity to get wet in Ribblesdale.

... So I returned to Settle the next day (220 miles by train - carbon footprint - 21kg CO2 = 84kWh

(And for it to be a fair world we should aim to just produce 6kg CO2 per day or 24kWh. )



Sunday, 4 October 2009

Settle Climate Change Day of Prayer

Well, we held the event and it went well. Now I can relax ..

We had a meaningful, varied and worthwhile day, with contributions from people of different denominations - people from 9 different churches were present (Not bad for a small town). I counted 40 people during the day.
  • Our town of Settle has 4798 people (made up of Settle 3044 and Giggleswick 1407 separated by the River Ribble, and Langcliffe up the road with 307) - or twice that when including surrounding villages. So that means we had a turnout of 1 in 100 or 1in 200.

Do you want to hear the variety of different things we did?

1. David Briggs, the minister at St John's Methodist Church opened with the Day of Prayer Introductory Prayer and prayers of his own. Then I played the first seven of the CD prayers with 1-2 minutes intervals between each.

2. Lunch:
- an opportunity for talking to and meeting people.
- an opportunity to fill in the two petitions
- 1. in support of the Prince's Rainforest project,
- 2. to Ed Miliband and Gordon Brown about Copenhagen.
- an opportunity to look at the children's prayers sent in by Giggleswick Primary School and Giggleswick Junior School. The people really appreciated these prayers.
Two pans of vegetable soup (Thanks Elizabeth Towers) and 36 rolls (Thanks Althea) sustained us. Plus a few baked potatoes. served by three valiant members of our church.

3. The DVD "Stations of the Forest" went down well. It is very moving. The video is only 15 minutes but it would be good to have a 1 1/2 hour session to discuss it - useful discussion notes. Maggie McSherry gave an informative introduction.
I now have a copy of the DVD if people would like to borrow it.

4. Huge paper footprints for America and tiny ones for Kerala in India were placed on the green carpet at the front of the church.

"Footprints in the Cosmos" - a short service led by Alistair Helm of Giggleswick Parish Church and Neil Kendra. England's footprints were very big too - It would take three worlds to provide resources if everyone in the world consumed as much as we do in Britain. (Just out of interest, we had a gentleman from Kerala at our church this morning, with his grandchild - visiting his daughter (who works at the nursing home in Settle) and son in law.)

4. Interval -
"Shake yourselves!" I said, "Shake hands with someone you don't know!"..
"And let's have a photoshot of everyone. Please." I ushered as many as would oblige to pose in front of the climate signs on the front door. ... "Thank you group!!!"

Actually that's three separate points - 4. It's good to get the blood circulating - 5. It's good to get to know people. and 6. maybe the photo will come in useful in publicising the issue of climate change..

7. Once inside again Maggie told us about the transport being arranged to the demonstration "The Wave" on the 5th December - both from Leeds+ Bradford and from Lancaster. Then she realised she would have to explain what "The Wave" is, and how Rowan Williams would be speaking at the church service beforehand.

8. Rodney Hooper reminded me to remind everyone about the Showing of "Age of Stupid" on Tuesday night. 6 Oct. Alison said there would be refreshments afterwards.

9. At some point - may be now - I showed people the book "Hope in God's Future" and explained how a friend is walking from Huddersfield to London in time for the wave, staying with Methodist's en route to publicise to Methodists about this report.

10. Alison Tyas gave us readings from the "A Quaker response to climate change", with some personal comments on some of them and time for reflection between others. She described how she had seen melting glaciers in Austria 40 years ago.. Scientist were beginning to record global warming then. Why had it taken us so long to act?

11. Now it was time for our "Settle Prayer Walk". Blessed with sunny weather, the participants set off in groups of 4 to 6 in different directions to visit one or two sites on the Settle Prayer Walk.
I was so glad it was fine. Being outside and experiencing the wonder of nature is half of what it's all about to me!.

12. Music and songs session.
I had been up late the previous evening printing out some copies of "Environment Praise 1" and "Environment Praise 2" - collections of songs and hymns about care of the environment that I have made -- but the printer kept jamming when I tried it back to back - and I wondered if the sound of my printer chugging away at midnight would go through the wall to my neighbour...

"You'll just have to get them to share copies" a friend said - "It's more intimate".

Some came back from the walk early keen to do the songs. I accompanied them one finger on the piano or to my piano accordion- and was really grateful that one lady could sing (sight reading) well and keep everyone else going. We sang five songs and read a couple of others.

13. Tea; chat; look at children's hymns. Look at the box of books for loan from the Eco-nite group and three people borrowed books. Most people left then.

14. The remnant, a dozen of us met for a short period of open prayer and silence.

As we started tidying away I played the next prayer on the cd.- The prayer of St Teresa of Avila (mp3)

We had a good day. thanks to everyone for coming. Perhaps we should have spent more time in prayer and in silence .. but why not listen now: Audio of prayers and readings


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Saturday, 3 October 2009

Preparation for Settle Day of Prayer on Climate Change and the Environment

Tomorrow is the Day of Prayer

I have spent quite a bit of effort in trying to get publicity for the Day of Prayer Nationally and regionally as well as locally.

The Craven Herald Had a tiny piece this week in a side column - but I met a lady this afternoon in Settle Museum who had read it - We locals read it pretty thoroughly, so well done Craven Herald!

I picked up "Newsround" - the Bradford Diocese Newspaper which only came out this week so most people will not have read it yet.. but it has a section about the event nationally.

I emailed some of my friends and contacts about it this morning.

Well now I am almost ready for tomorrow:

I went into the choir vestry and cleaned the window, in case we use this room. And I arranged some chairs and tables slightly in the Foyer where we make coffee, and where tomorrow we will serve soup.

We have had Prayer contributions form Giggleswick Primary School and Giggleswick Junior School, and I have planned where to pin these up. We will read some of them at 4pm.

I was delighted yesterday to find that Alistair Helm and Neil Kendra the two Anglican priests have prepared something for their "Anglican slot" - "Footprints in the Cosmos".

I had received at last the DVD "Stations of the Forest" and equally delighted that Maggie McSherry is going to use that - She had only been able to get the slide pack so was please to have the DVD -

Alsion Tyas is set to Read some from the "A Quaker Response to climate change".


I will print the programme at the bottom of this post.

So what is the Methodist Response?

I noted in the report from Synod on Settle Circuit's brand new website that there is a Methodist report on Climate Change.








CHURCHES TOGETHER IN SETTLE AND DISTRICT DAY OF PRAYER ON CLIMATE CHANGE
AND ENVIRONMENT. 4 OCT 2009

You are all very welcome to this whether of any religion or none.

You can read the programme in more detail at www.ctisad.org.uk
or download the poster www.christian-ecology.org.uk/dop-ctisad.doc
Here is a summary:
This 'Day of Prayer' is being encouraged across the country this Sunday, October 4th in the run-up to the climate change talks in Copenhagen this December, where bold and science-based agreements must be reached for the continuation of abundant life on earth.

At Settle's event, running parallel to the prayers, will be extra activities:
12.00 Intro prayers and climate prayers - Introduced by David Briggs
12.30 Low carbon footprint lunch - Soup and rolls. Free. Donations welcome
1.00 New Catholic DVD: 'Stations of the forest' - Presentation by Maggie McSherry
1.30 Anglican presentation /session: "Footprints in the Cosmos" - led by Alistair Helm and Neil Kendra
2.00 Quaker contribution "A Quaker Response to Climate Change" - Introduced by Alison Tyas
2.30-3.30 Part of Churches Together Prayer Walk - or stay in church
3.30-3.30 Green Songs / Hymns - Selection form Judith's collection: "Environment Praise"
New words to favourite tunes. Plus old and new green songs you may not have heard before.
If you have a portable musical instrument do bring it! (I can email you some of the music if you want to practise - or just come)
4.00 Reading of Children's Prayers - Poems and Prayers from Giggleswick Primary School and
Giggleswick Junior School will be on display and a selection read
4.30 Light refreshments - If you would like to bring contributions to this, they will be
welcome.... especially if you can work out if they are low carbon footprint.(e.g. local vegetables) otherwise go for LOAF i.e.
one of
L - local
O - organic
A - animal friendly
F - Fairly traded

5-00 Local Prayers; Short talk on how to become an EcoCongregation.
5.30 Prayers and Conclusion
6.00 Finish.

With such a variety of activities, I hope something appeals!


Best wishes
Judith Allinson

The future of the rainforest is our future too | Please sign up at www.rainforestSOS.org





Here

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Day of Prayer on Climate Change and Environment


Churches Together in Settle and District are going to have a
Day of Prayer on Climate Change and the Environment on Sunday 4th October. See our programme

Churches all over the country are invited to hold a Climate Change Day of Prayer - see the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland Website.
A friend in Bradford has designed a user friendly EXCELLENT USEFUL triptych leaflet with the quotes made by important church leaders about the importance of prayer and the Copenhagen talks.

I recommend printing it and showing it to people at your church.

Do let me know if you are having a Climate Change Day of Prayer at your church...
or even better like us extending it to all the environment so we can pur more emphasis on saving rainforests and rare habitats and species under threat.
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Algae and Lichens Walk

We held the Algae and Lichens Walk on Wednesday 26 August.
Five people came plus Allan and I which made for a nice group. Yes it did rain a bit.
We spent more than half an hour in the National Park Car Park., there was so much there to see.
We sheltered in Janet's Foss Wood. Allan later emailed me to say the blue-green in roadside puddle: Oscillatoria brevis - not one of the commoner species.
filaments on stone in beck: Ulothrix zonata
green stuff on fence post : Klebsormidium crenulatum
So there - I'll put the pictures up later.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Algae (and Lichens) for Beginners - Malham Walk

This was written in 2009.         Click for Other Posts about Lichens on this blog

Note added on 8 Sept 2012: Today On 8 Sept 2012 I am leading a walk along the same track - meeting at 10.30am in Malham Yorkshire Dales National Park Car Park. - - I have added some notes in red today to this blog post which was otherwise written in 2009. 

Today's walk is run for Plantlife members and for everyone else local or visitors who would like to come. Now back to my preparations in 2009..

We haven't got Rainforest in Yorkshire - so lets look at Nature at a small scale - algae, bluegreen bacteria and lichens.



On Wednesday 26 August 2009 I am helping Allan Pentecost in "An Algae and Lichens Walk" - Let's be honest - I have organised the walk and put the posters up .. and now hope to learn as much as I can from him!! - Thanks Allan. This Monday evening after it had stopped raining I went to Malhamdale to take some photos. The views just before I dropped down to Malham village were great! You are looking towards Gordale above.

Focusing on the wall top we see Verrucaria nigrescens and on top of the cap stone is a yellower lichen, seen closeup below.




On the other side of the road I looked across a stone along the road - You can see Malham Cove in the distance. On the stone there is a white lichen Aspicilia calcarea  and an orange one Caloplaca flavescens. Here below is the same rock and lichens but closer up.

Once in the village, I park in the National Park Car Park. the sun is shining on the trunks of the two small ash trees. Near the base of the trunk is Xanthoria parietina and next to it a species of Physcia. Let's go for Physcia tenella

The tape has mm on one side and 1/8 ths of an inch on the other. The pictures below have ended up sideways.


This is of Lecanora chlarotera.


This lichen has black fruiting bodies.



On a Mountain Ash trunk near by is some Usnea subfloridana  (Sadly by 2011 it had disappeared)





this tree has Ramalina farinosa

and Parmelia sulcata

The border of the door for both Ladies and Gents toilets is sandstone. This lichen grows on it.It is Lecanora campestris




Outside the chapel the wall tops are also sandstone and have large patches of a whitish lichen



and also one with black fruiting bodies




On the fence post over the road is this green. Is it alga or is it lichen?.. I think it will turn out to be the filamentous alga Klebsormidium crenulatum


I set off. at the footbridge on the back wall of the Blacksmith's is some Caloplaca flavescens.


by now the batteries in the camera and the spare batteries are flat. . I have only gone 100 yards. Time to go home!.


Click for Other Posts about Lichens on this blog

Monday, 10 August 2009

Smallest Monkey in the world - Philippines

I went to visit a friend with dementia condition in a Nursing Home/Old Peoples Home in Grassington. Many of the staff are from abroad from many different countries. For those residents capable of in depth conversation this should make for a more interesting life..

I chat with the nurse who came to our little group. She comes from the Philippines. "Which part?" I ask.

"The Chocolate Hills" she replies " It is a tourist area with tropical forest and the smallest monkey in the world."

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Jungle Decorations

After the service today the team organising the Jungle Jamboree Children's Holiday club went across to the church hall to decorate it, and to practise the sketches for the club.

I took down the rest of the Churches Together Stuff and the rest of the Rainforest Project Display. Hilary helped me. We put my green and orange batik cloth (from Sierra Leone) across the St John's Display notices. We put some of my fungi shapes on the green card where the Forest Display had been. I made a large chimpanzee on a branch brown silhouette on the red card where the Chruches Together Stuff had been. Then we found a space above the coat pegs where evening activity notices were on display and partly covered them with green card and put a little of the Fainforest Project signs up, including the nice Cool Earth Poster.

Any way it is certainly simpler.

In the Evening I was able to use the Stainforth Parish Photocopier to produce some A3 sized colour pictures of Cameroon rainforest.


I am now scheduled to be a thief on day two of the sketch at the Children's holiday club - a walk on run off part.

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Saturday, 8 August 2009

Keep it Simple, Less is More

Today I went to the Rainforest display in the church hall and to the Churches Together in Settle display next to it. I took half the pinned up pictures and notices down. This was to make space for something on a jungle theme that I might create for the children's holiday club next week.

The remaining pictures looked really effective!!.
If only I had had the nerve to remove the extra pictures earlier.


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Friday, 7 August 2009

Burning the Forest


Burning the bush is an easy way of getting rid of scrub and weeds.

I took this outside out house at Mathora near Magburaka in Sierra Leone, when I was teaching there.

The area round our school was farmed - the villagers grew rice in the swamp areas and vegetables, and cassava

I wonder how much CO2 goes up in the air .. Still here most of the plants will only have grown in the past few years since the land was last burned, so it will only be the Carbon fixed in the last few years.
However, thirty miles north, where there were mountains and fewer people we met missionaries who said "When we first came here (? in the 1940s?) this was primary forest."


Just look at the steep slopes - and think of the erosion.


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Thursday, 6 August 2009

Green Books Resource Library in Settle

Want to borrow a book on pemaculture? or transition towns. Or organic gardening?

At the Eco-nite on Wednesday, Ann Ambrose suggested having good eco-books available for loan.- She showed us the two boxes she already has.

Since it is not possible to put them in the County Library she suggested putting it in the Settle Parish Church initially for two months.

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Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Eco-nite at Settle - 1st Wed of month

A group of people have started meeting at Settle on the first Wednesday evening of each month to meet fellow green/eco minded people and discuss various issues. We meet at the Royal Oak. It is the third time I have been. Each month there are new people.

Tonight a man came and told us about a day he is organising on 5th Sept at the Victoria Hall when people can bring goods to give away for free and who can collect goods for free. A sort of Freecycle.

Later one of the people suggested starting up a Settle Freecycle since it is a long way to Skipton which is what our area comes under. Look out for this!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Rainforest loss News - FOE and Greenpeace

Here are some articles about Rainforest Loss

1. Amazon rainforests pay the price as demand for beef soars (Guardian 31 May 2009)

2. Gitta Ashworth, of Leamington and Warwick Friends of the Earth, said: "When people think of climate change they picture cars and planes, but few realise that the meat and dairy industry produces more climate-changing gases than all the world's transport.

"The government must help farmers to switch to home-grown animal feed and planet-friendly farming that delivers a better deal for farmers and families in Britain and we very much value James Plaskitt's support in this campaign."

3. The new Greenpeace report, “Slaughtering the Amazon,” tracks beef, leather, and other cattle products from ranches involved in illegal deforestation in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The investigation indicates the “laundering” of leather and beef into supply chains of top brands such as Adidas, Reebok, Nike, Clarks, Timberland, Geox, Gucci, IKEA, Kraft, and Wal-Mart.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Jungle Jamboree


The theme of the children's holiday club which will be held at St John's Church Hall next week (10-13 Aug) is "We're going on a Jungle Jamboree" children from anywhere in the area - even on holiday - are welcome.

I think the theme is to act out some adventures in the jungle and play some games related to this and to have some bible stories relevant to the adventures.

I am sure the children will enjoy playing at being in a jungle

Although they will be doing most of the decorations in the "Primary Room" of the church hall, it would be good if I could update the notice board in the main hall. Must think about that.
I suppose the easiest thing is to make a lot of leaves with long tips that allow the rain to run off them..


Last week I attended a barbecue with friends who have worked a lot in Borneo. They pointed out that although, from the air, in places there seems a lot of forest, much of it is Secondary Forest, that has regrown after the primary forest is cut down.. You can tell if you are in Primary Forest because there is very little undergrowth and it is easy to walk through it. When the forest is cut down and regrows again there is light and much more undergrowth- and that is when it become impenetrable jungle..

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Long Preston Deeps Flower Walk


Today 24 people came on the Wild Flower walk I led at Long Preston Deeps. This was a Craven Conservation Group event, and we had 6 CCG people, but we gained about 8 through the local paper the Craven Herald, about 6 through the Flower Festival Leaflet and about 4 through my emails on local events.

The land we walked on is not normally open to the public so I think several people came out of curiosity to see what is there...

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Saturday, 1 August 2009

Day of Prayer Re Climate Change - 4th Oct

There is to be a national Day of Prayer in UK about Climate Change and the Environment on 4th October. I have just sent an email about it to my friends and contacts in Churches Together in Settle and District. I hope we can organise one here.

Lots of resources have been prepared if people want to organise a Day of Prayer. You can download them from the Operation Noah Website and Christian Ecology Link Web Site and I hope soon from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Ferns of Ribblehead Viaduct - 26 July 2009

Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line organised a second Walking of the Ribblehead Viaduct on 26 July. The first walking was two years ago.

Would you like to come with me on the walk across this 24 arch bridge?
Across the bridge which British Rail attempted to close c 20 years ago?
Put on your waterproof and windproof jacket and strong shoes and come with me.

Look, there's a group walking along the railway now.

The event was possible because the Line had been closed for a fortnight or so for major works on the line. As in 2007, I volunteered to take people round the (now) Natural England Old Quarry Nature Reserve just behind Ribblehead Station. This entitled me to wear a flourescent orange jacket and feel very important.. along with the ?two hundred other volunteers in flourescent jackets.


What has this to do with the Tropical Rainforest Fund?

Well,
a) About half the St John's congregation had defected and were volunteers or walkers at this event. (Slight exaggeration - but I did see eight of us during the day. You can see six of us plus two visiting friends in the top picture here, having just arrived and stepped off the bus. This was before it started pouring with rain. The seventh settled down to sign people in in the Signing-In tent. And the eighth, Bill Mitchell arrived later to sign copies of his new book, "Thunder in the Mountains", the dramatic true story of hardship, violence and debauchery behind the building of Ribblehead Viaduct. )
b) A topic like this just might draw people to this web page so they will read more of the forest fund project..
c) I plan to make a web article on Ferns of the viaduct.. or maybe wildlife of the viaduct.
d) Taking people round the nature reserve is looking after a wildlife habitat... and what special people I took round! .. but more of that later.

Here you see the viaduct at 3.45pm with the very last group (at the top right) just coming across. Then as you walk down and back across to Ribblehead Station (left distance) you are given an archaeological tour of where the different buildings and workshops of the shanty town were.. all now covered with grass and bog.


Well I arrived and went to the big tent where there were lots of displays. I put out some programmes for Craven Conservation Group on a table.

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Here are some ferns:
Why do ferns grow well on the walls rather than flowering plants? The viaduct is a very exposed place. They grow on mortar in the walls and in crevices where soil accumulates. Perhaps the windy exposure (and also on the tracks, the herbicide) prevent other plants growing and so give ferns a chance. Ferns do well in moist places - they need water at some stage for sexual reproduction to take place. (The male gamete has to swim to where the female gamete is, and after fusion a new fern plant will grow) I think they must have been reproducing well today.

Green spleenwort (Asplenium viride). Click on the picture to see a larger picture

The leaves, or fronds are "once pinnate" - that means they are divided into leaflets called pinnaes. Green spleenwort has a green stem.


Lady Fern (Athyrium felix-femina) is twice pinnate. Its pinnae are divided into pinnules. Its fronds are about 30cm long. In sheltered places they can grow over 1 m.
It is called "Lady Fern" because it is more delicate than Male Fern. It is not closely related to male fern. There is no sex involved.


Rosebay Willow-herb. (Chamerion angustifolium)
This is sometimes called Fireweed and has spread along the railways, and is at its finest in late July.









To be continued
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