It’s been hard work this year on the field, but we have achieved a lot. What do they say: you cant see the wood for the trees. We organised over 50 volunteer days, organised craft sessions, open days and focussed skills days over the past year. Hedgelaying and scything continue to be popular as traditional skills that are relevant and enjoyable to do. Newly trained volunteers scythed half the charity field and cleared a third of the field boundary of dense bramble, felled two trees on the field boundary which were suffering from Ash dieback and processed branches for woodchip on site and firewood. Volunteers also completed another 50m of hedge on Murton recreation ground. Two of our volunteers have accumulated enough skill and confidence to teach on their own and with support: Nick Bingham instructs hedge laying and Nicole Yardley instructs basket making.
In July we decided to hold our first camp to be part of the Great Big Green Week an event promoted UK wide to highlight climate action among community organisations. Using all the renewed infrastructure and volunteers recruited over the last 18 months we were able to offer a climate camp. We also ran our first crowdfunder to promote and fundraise for the camp totalling £1,960. The camp ended with live music and a facilitated discussion by Climate Cymru a Welsh campaigning organisation who visited as part of their Green Tour of Wales. 40 people visited over the week, 10 people camped. There was a lot to do but it was great in the last weekend to welcome new people to the camp; share a meal cooked on the fire shield and hear the views of real people trying to make sense of this massive problem called climate change.
We have a long way to go to build a camp similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1930’s America. A massive effort launched as part of the New Deal where nearly 3 million enrollees between 1933-42 lived in camps and did emergency conservation work in the face of an economic depression and widespread environmental degradation.
What we are trying to do is create a seed project in the field which at the right time can be expanded and resourced to recruit thousands of young people needed to re-skill and rebuild our farming and forestry in the face of challenging conditions. It may be the difference between food or famine.