Connecting with Nature

August 25, 2021

All the Rotary projects considered so far have environmental work as a core component of rotarian activity.  Most of them, however, are deal with only one or two aspects of involvement with nature, such as tree-planting.  Some projects deal with several aspects of the environment, for example wildlife, beautification of the locality, food production as well as tree-planting, and it is these projects which are illustrated here.



A good example of a Rotary club environmental project is Ponteland Rotary [D1030] programme.  The fact that this includes much tree-planting is not surprising as the climatic climax vegetation in most humid regions of the world is woodland, and trees typically make up some 80% of the biomass there.  However, this is only part of the Pontenviroland project:  there is also action to protect red squirrels and hedgehogs.  There is even a litter clean up!  Another strong feature of this project is that it is long-term, lasting at least 5 years.  It is important for rotarians to realise that changing the environment for the better takes much longer than many humanitarian projects, and programmes lasting years are generally far more effective than single year on-off activities.  Click

Another example of a local project is Rugby Rotary’s Centenary project to improve part of an old railway line.  It is interesting to note that an important task here has been the removal of trees, mainly young sycamore saplings, for the greater benefit of other flora and fauna.  Click  It is worth remembering that the majority of the GB & I population live in urban settings or in areas peripheral to major towns, so most Rotary clubs will have similar possibilities nearby

A different situation occurs in the more sparsely populated areas of GB & I.  Here there are often opportunities for more emphasis on rewilding and increased biodiversity which can be accompanied by judicious tree-planting/forest restoration.  A good example of this, supported by the local Rotary club and rotarians from elsewhere in the Scottish Borders, would be the Langholm Moor Initiative where desolate moorland is being developed through tree-planting of native species, felling of a coniferous plantation, rewilding, restoration of extensive moorland peat and the creation of the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve.  This is a biodiversity project, which it is hoped will promote ecotourism in this part of the Scottish Borders.  Click



Most ESRAG biodiversity projects are within the British Isles, but there are also some which are based in Africa.  The main one is the Kipsaina WASH+ project which includes conservation of a wetland area and the protection of endangered species [e.g. the sitatunga] in the wetland.  Details are given elsewhere under Featured Projects.  Another example would be the restoration of the Ngarasero Forest near Usa River in Tanzania where rich birdlife is one of the attractions at the local ecotourist lodge.  See Tropical Tree-Planting & Conservation project for further details.  

10 Year Environmental Action Plan for Ponteland