When you think of The Community Farm we hope you think top notch organically grown and sourced veg boxes But what might be less know to you is the passion and care The Farm also takes for wildlife to flourish.
Not only do we have a dedicated wildlife volunteer group that meet fortnightly for a few hours on a Thursday morning, there is also a wildlife group that come together every few months to help ensure we are always making the best choices for wildlife on The Farm.
To add to these existing groups, for the past 6 months The Community Farm has been running something a little different for both people and wildlife with the new Wild Steps Programme. We wanted Wild Steps to offer a different pathway for our community to engage with The Farm, by helping care for wildlife and fostering a greater sense of wellbeing whilst doing so.
So, what has made Wild Steps different to a normal conservation volunteer day? Well, a big part of Wild Steps has been the application of the 5 Pathways to Nature Connectedness. Each week we have a planned morning activity themed around one of The Pathways - Contact, Beauty, Emotion, Compassion and Meaning. These activities aim to allow people to encounter The Farm with a greater awareness - connecting with the natural world in a different way, one where we are not always ‘doing to’ nature but actively engaging with it. The mini mandalas on Beauty week are always a real winner.
But what about caring for wildlife? The idea is that we spend the morning slowing down and noticing The Farm before we start the ‘doing’ bit which can involve anything from learning the traditional skills in scything and pruning, to help care for the margins and hedgerows, to making bird feeders as well as bulb and tree planting. During the Compassion session we always try and have an activity that people could also do in their own homes, which most recently was a beetle bank.
The feedback we have been receiving has been especially warming...
‘I've done a lot of volunteering on The Farm which has been all about the ‘doing’. This course has allowed me to be/see it in a different way, and allow myself to ‘be’ on The Farm.
'I've loved being outdoors with a group of friendly, supportive, nature loving individuals, in a fantastic venue with great views over the lake. There are of places to explore and be exposed to the elements and you really feel a part of the natural landscape. I also loved learning new skills such as scything and doing some great creative activities too'.
‘This was a great 6 weeks, I really enjoyed the tasks, the team, the surroundings and the way the course has increased my awareness of nature.'
It has been a real joy running Wild Steps and being able to offer something new and different to The Farm. This would not have been possible without the support from our customers who contributed to The Covid Fund, so a big thank you from everyone at The Community Farm and it's flourishing web of life!
by Jason Leck, Wild Steps Coordinator