Churchyard Biodiversity

Caring for God’s Acre Blog

Churches Count on Nature at St Mary’s Churchyard in Caerhun (June 2022)

Caerhun Churchyard Scything

How did you hear about Love your Burial Ground Week?

Through the work of ARocha. 

How did the two-hour Saturday morning event that you organised go?

It was really encouraging as more than 30 people came to this small, rural churchyard to help us discover what it contained.  Our youngest participant was 9 months old (finding bugs in the wall), to our eldest participant who was 90 and a retired Professor of Botany.  

What wildlife did you record and how did you find using the iNaturalist app?

Using the iNaturalist app gave confidence to volunteers who were finding the ID of flowers.  Using the app gives instant rewards and helps gain knowledge because the ID is given in the moment.  It created a sense of excitement – What will we find next? And made participants look more closely for small flowers that might have been hidden in some of the long grass.   It was a bonus that it made my job easier of collating the results too as it was possible to extract the data from iNaturalist!  Of course, it can also be useful for identifying more than flowers!

In our small space we were amazed to find this number of species:

Bats x 2                         Ferns x 2                   Insects x 10

Birds x 8                       Flowers x 73             Trees x 4

Butterfly x 1                 Grasses x 6               Moths x 38 

Pale Tussock Moth

Did you bring in expert help and how did you do this?

We were well supported by volunteers from the local Wildlife Trust as well as the local branch of Butterfly Conservation who set up a number of moth traps the night before, and brought their Bat specialist too.

Some of the youngest participants in our Churches Count on Nature Day 22 supported by North Wales Wildlife Trust

Your church is not in a village, in fact it is in the middle of fields and the churchyard is very small – were you surprised at how many people turned up and how did you advertise?

Yes, I was very surprised at how many people turned up and most got so excited that they stayed for the whole two hours!  We had advertised it in two local Facebook groups and through Bro Celynnin’s weekly email.

Do you feel the success will encourage other churches locally to be involved?

Yes, for sure! It was a great way of meeting people who care about green spaces but may not necessarily be interested in attending church services.  It was great to have some experts available to help with some of the trickier ID.  It was also positive that the church could showcase something positive for the environment.  So other churches in our Ministry Area will be involved this coming year.  It was inspirational for others too because they heard about our scything day and how we seek to manage the churchyard to support and enhance the biodiversity.  It was a joy to discover that we had wild Welsh daffodils in our churchyard – something to celebrate indeed!  Already another local church has asked to be involved this year and is linking it with the village’s ‘Open Gardens’ event.



Rev’d Susan Blagden

07741 900 360

Caring for God’s Acre

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