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West Norfolk churches join nature survey

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All over the country in the second week of June churches are taking part in a project to survey the plants and animals that live in their churchyards.

“Churches Count on Nature” is one of the citizen science projects that involve ordinary members of the public in collecting data that can be used by scientists and advisory bodies. This survey will be very like the well-known RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

In West Norfolk some churches have already got head with this important work. As more of our natural environment is lost to housing and paved surfaces, traditional churchyards stand out as havens for many forms of wildlife. Ashwicken church and St Nicholas at Gayton have shown their recognition of this in starting on surveys a few years back.

Exterior of St Faith Church Gaywood.. (51694342)
Exterior of St Faith Church Gaywood.. (51694342)

Over 100 wild flower species were found in the Ashwicken churchyard, including some of the smaller best loved wild flowers, wood sorrel, germander speedwell and sweet violet.

On Tuesday, June 7, between 4pm and 4.30pm, St Faith’s Church in Gaywood is inviting people to come and sit quietly in the churchyard for 20 minutes, (bringing a rug or folding chair to sit on if wished).

"You will be asked to record the plants, animals, and insects that you see from where you are sitting.

"There will be some useful printed materials andsome helpful experts to assist you in this task.

A church spokesman said: "During the pandemic many people discovered comfort, peace and a sense of the spiritual in nature and St Faith’s wants to invite people to visit the churchyard and enjoy it.

"The church is working on being an ‘Ecochurch’ and has already achieved a bronze award. We are very grateful to the borough council who help us to care for the churchyard."

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