Learning the Secrets of the Solent

It was a pleasure to meet up with Emily Stroud  (picture right, above)recently from the Secrets of the Solent Project as we visited a number of coastal sites around West Wight.

Secrets of the Solent is a Heritage Lottery funded project, run by the Hants and Isle of Wight Trust aimed at raising the profile, understanding of the marine environment in the Solent. The project area is large covering the north coast of the Isle of Wight and a long stretch of mainland coast and estuaries including Portsmouth and Southampton.

Emily explained that the Solent is a wildlife gem, with hidden seagrass meadows and chalk reefs below the surface. However, in spite of it being a well populated area with heavy industry in places, it is also rich in wildlife and is an inspiring landscape. The project is funded for just 4 years and there is plenty to do in terms of getting volunteers involved and helping to collect wildlife data to help better protect marine life and habitats.

Isle of Wight coastline

Exploring the Secrets of the Solent, Fort Victoria Country Park

Over the life of the initiative the team will engage with communities through art and citizen science, groups, local businesses connected with the Solent to better appreciate what we have but also to encourage personal action to protect the natural heritage.

Without question the team’s task is ambitious but to my mind the project could not come at a better time than now. As we leave the EU, we must ensure that the EU nature designations are replaced with new protection measures that are robust – to do that we all need to appreciate learn what our natural environment has to offer – no more so than the marine environment as it is so hidden from pubic view. If Secrets of the Solent can help communicate and help us better understand the Solent environment then it is a job well done.

 

For more information visit Secrets of the Solent

Photos: Pete Johnstone

Pete’s pictures now up in the New Rembrandt Gallery, Newport

A new venue for my pictures in the centre of the Isle of Wight! Throughout October they can be found at the New Rembrandt Gallery in Newport.

All the scenes are of West Wight and the images have been printed on Aluminium Dibond, a process which ensures excellent picture quality and durability. The matte finish reduces the glare that can often be seen when pictures are mounted behind glass. The prints are 21x28cm priced at £55 each.

The images, all taken over the past year are of the coast and mostly shot in winter, when I reckon the light on the Isle of Wight can be at its best.

New Rembrandt Gallery, 15 Scarrots Lane, Newport PO30 1JD

 

 

It was great to see my portrait of cabinet maker Gary Mowle being featured at the Freshwater Coffee House on the Isle of Wight today. Gary was one of my portraits in my recent West Wight People and Place exhibition held at the Dimbola Museum and Galleries earlier this year. 

The exhibition illustrated local people and their connection to heritage and local community. Gary was one of 16 other portraits of West Wight people. 

Gary Mowle, an image from West Wight People and Place

Stefan Powell the owner (pictured right above) of the Freshwater Coffee House has featured the photograph of Gary as the first in a line of portraits, in the coming months, to illustrate the diversity of people living in this corner of the Island.

 

A Great Place

October has been spent meeting some interesting people – perhaps you may know some of them from my mosaic – and in visiting places around the island to get to know my new home.  I am learning a lot of what the Island has got to offer and what it has not.

Finding the funds to do valuable work is a common theme when talking to people be it on church or parish projects, landscape improvements or those working on regeneration projects such as the Pluto Project in Sandown, mentioned in my last blog.  It is good to know that crowdfunding is being talked about with enthusiasm and hopefully my crowdfunding video – tips for success will be of help to those who have yet to venture into this form of fundraising.

I was really chuffed that On the Wight chose one of my photos, Abstract Sands to be their photo of the week – particularly pleasing for me as most of my photography tends to be of people rather of landscapes.

The two best venues I have been to this month are the Piano Cafe in Freshwater which serves excellent coffee and the Neil Williams Gallery in Ventnor whose landscape photography is truly stunning. The Island is certainly a great place and I look forward to seeing more of it and meeting new people in the months to come.

Crowdfunding Nature – Project Update (June 2016)

Keep the Nightingales Singing!

Project update: As part of the Crowdfunding for Nature project, Natural England and local charity Nene Coppicing and Crafts raised £5200 from 90 backers from the UK crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder.
Crowdfunding Nature is an initiative run by the East of England Biodiversity Forum and managed by PJ.elements and CrowfundUK. The initiative is currently undergoing evaluation and a short video of the lessons learned to help other environmental organisations with crowdfunding campaigns will be out soon.

PJ.elements awarded Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Community Heritage grant.

PJ.elements has been awarded a Community Heritage grant from the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership to photograph people living and working in the landscape of the Cambridgeshire and Norfolk fens.

Pete Johnstone the owner of PJ.elements said:

This is a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to being able to meet and photograph some of the people who live and work in the area and to try and tell their story. I am aiming to photograph farmers, people who are responsible for the water management of the Ouse Washes and those involved with local crafts in the area.

Mark Nokkert, project manager for the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme said:

In awarding the grant we like the fact that Elements of the Landscape  will leave a photographic record of people living and working in the Ouse Washes.  We look increasingly to use images of the 1947 floods and earlier ones showing life and people living in past times, and so we  think that this project will  add an important  landscape-specific  contribution to an image library of  fenland life today. 

Pictured are Sara Marshall and Mark Nokkert of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership team.

Photo by Pete Johnstone.

The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme (OWLP) is a 3-year project largely funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The scheme focuses on the promotion of the area surrounding the Ouse Washes, the heart of the Cambridgeshire and Norfolk Fens, and on encouraging community engagement with the area’s diverse heritage.

 

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Pop up consultations on the Secrets of the Sands

PJ.elements joined forces with Resources for Change to undertake community consultations in the ‘Secrets of the Sands’ landscape area and nearby Bedford and Milton Keynes to discover how much people know about the Bedfordshire Greensand Ridge.

 

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Consultation in Flitwick, Central Beds. Photo: Pete Johnstone

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An avenue of parkland trees on the Greensand Ridge. Photo: Pete Johnstone

The Research is part of our work with the Interpretation consultancy TellTale and the Secrets of the Sands Landscape Partnership Scheme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The results of our work will feed into the Interpretation and Audience Development Plan for the Project’s stage two Heritage Lottery Fund application. More information on the Secrets of the Sands Landscape Partnership Scheme can be found here

‘Secrets of the Sands’ is the landscape partnership scheme for the a long narrow wooded sandstone ridge running 35 miles south west to north east from Leighton Buzzard to Gamlingay to the south of Bedford. It is a fascinating area of woodlands, heathland and many old parkland estates with their ancient trees. Certainly a hidden landscape and one worth exploring!

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Rowney Warren, a Forestry Commission Woodland not far from Shefford. Photo: Pete Johnstone

 

Images © Pete Johnstone

Urban regeneration in New York

The High Line, New York

The High Line, New York showing viewing platform

I had a great opportunity to visit the High Line in New York recently to meet some staff and volunteers who gave an excellent tour of this city regeneration initiative.

Built in the late 1920s as a freight only line the ‘High Line’ in New York served many factories and warehouses and was raised above ground to reduce congestion, improve safety and increase efficiency.

By 1980 the last train ran along the tracks and for the next decade or so the High Line became derelict and a no go area. It was only with the threat of demolition in  the 1990s that local people and city organisations came together to work out a future for the line.

And what a great example of urban regeneration it has been! I was particularly impressed with how well it is managed with a combination of the Friends of the High Line volunteers and staff and the city parks dept among others. Plus how the old architecture fits in with the modern new build of offices and homes. Now a tourist attraction in its own right the next section to be opened, with views of the Hudson River, will have minimal management where visitors  will be able to walk along a path through self-sown vegetation to contrast that of the more managed southern section.

The High Line

The High Line’s unique planting set against new build.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The High Line is well worth a visit when next in New York and hopefully inspiration for UK projects in Liverpool and London who have used Spacehive to help crowdfund and promote their work

More High Line images can be viewed here.

A new Technical Note on Crowdfunding from the Landscape Institute.

Pete Johnstone from the environmental consultancy PJ.elements was recently commissioned by the Landscape Institute to write a Technical Note on Crowdfunding for members of the Institute.

Simon Odell, Head of the Landscape institute’s Technical and Professional Services said ‘’The principle of the church spire appeal has been with us for many years, but crowdfunding in its current form is a relatively new digital method of fundraising and offers real opportunities for our members struggling on behalf of local communities on local greenspace projects to achieve a critical mass of funding in this times of public sector cuts.

But conceptually I am also interested in its potential to be a mechanism for delivering payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes, which have yet to be fully realised.

We choose Pete to write the Technical Note for his tremendous background experience with the body now called Natural England coupled with a clear expertise in environmental crowdfunding.  In fact I haven’t encountered anyone who knows more about the subject area than he has.’’

The use of crowdfunding as a way of raising funds and profile is a proven business technique which is now being taken up by not for profit organisations in their drive to find new ways of raising funds. It is not going to work for every project and other fundraising methods may well be more appropriate. On large projects of, say £10,000 or more it may worthwhile combining different techniques to reach your goal. Though be warned crowdfunding is not the easy option – even to raise a modest amount of money takes time and commitment!

Crowdfunding only works where the public is inspired enough to make a pledge. If not enough people are inspired then the project is not funded.

Pete has written a case study on environmental crowdfunding which can be viewed here.

Pete is an Affiliate member of the Landscape Institute.   For more information on the work of the Landscape Institute visit http://www.landscapeinstitute.co.uk/

 

Nb.If your organisation would like help with developing a crowdfunding strategy or project please contact pete.johnstone@pjelements.co.uk

Launch of Natural Cambridgeshire

The Vision and work programme for Natural Cambridgeshire was launched by Baroness Young of Old Scone at  Swavesey Village College  on Tuesday 18th November.

Natural Cambridgeshire is the Local Nature Partnership for the historic county of Cambridgeshire and speakers at the launch included  Roger Tallowin of H&O properties, Rebecca Britten, Urban & Civic, Dr David Pencheon of the Sustainable Development Unit at the NHS and Dr Henrietta Ewart, Director of Public Health Peterborough.

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The launch was hosted by Richard Astle, chair of Natural Cambridgeshire with Philip Clark, coordinator of Natural Cambridgeshire.

Natural Cambridgeshire is a partnership of leaders from businesses, local authorities, the health sector,farming,wildlife and environmental organisations that exist to champion, influence and enable a quality environment for people and wildlife in Cambridgeshire.

 

Other launch photos can be viewed here (Opens to a new website)

Photos: copyright Pete Johnstone