Greensand Country Landscape Partnership
It was particularly pleasing to secure a photography commission from the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership as previously, some years back, I had played a part in helping to devise the Audience Development Plan for the project.
My current role is to help build up a library of photographs that feature the distinctive qualities of the Greensand Country. The two days recently spent in the area were to focus on taking photographs of the first Greensand Country Festival (26th May – 3rd June 2018) with the photos helping to monitor progress and for use in future Festival guides and publicity.
In all I attended 6 Festival events ranging from a ramblers walk, a very well attended Walk4health walk through the lovely and recently restored Ampthill Great Park (again HLF Funded) a Forest School activity through to a singing event on Woburn Sands Station!
I thoroughly enjoyed the two days which was really helped by people happily allowing me to take their photographs. While taking the photos I must have spoken to several dozen people and it is surprising how few have heard of the HLF funded Landscape Partnership schemes.
These Landscape Partnerships have helped restore many local landscapes up and around the country and one that has engaged many thousands of people in the process. Just one of life’s hidden gems, I guess.
Background: Greensand Country is an island of distinctive, beautiful and loved countryside in the heart of Bedfordshire. The area contains all of Bedfordshire’s remaining heathland, more than half of its woodland and more historic parkland per hectare than anywhere else in the country. It is a landscape rich in wildlife and cultural heritage, with its own special qualities and sense of place.
More info: http://greensandcountry.com/
Photographs. Taken by Pete Johnstone, published courtesy of Greensand Country ©. All images have parental permissions where required.
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.
Duck End is a much loved nature reserve on the edge of Maulden in Bedfordshire. It has ponds, marshy areas, pollards and a wildflower meadow and home for lots of wildlife. The reserve is also the last remnant of Maulden Moor, where peat was cut for fuel in the 18th century, so it has wildlife and some history but walking around the reserve, especially in winter, is getting increasingly difficult as it can be a very wet place.
The Greensand Trust who manage the reserve want to replace the old boardwalk with a new one and will be running a crowdfunding campaign, called Love a Duck! to help raise funds for the new boardwalk.
I met Jon Balaam from the Greensand Trust on the day of filming the crowdfunding video who explained that the volunteers have really enjoyed preparing for the video and the crowdfunding idea and that the Trust hopes to be launching the campaign next week.
The Greensand Trust is one of a number conservation organisations who are taking part in Crowdfunding Nature a pilot project run by the East of England Biodiversity Forum to test the potential for crowdfunding to raise funds and profile for nature based projects.
Photo: Pete Johnstone
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.
Through the East of England Biodiversity Forum we are encouraging 6 projects to be worked up as crowdfunding campaigns to be launched over the coming months.
All of the projects covering the counties of Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire will have a focus on nature and will aim to test and demonstrate the effectiveness of using crowdfunding as a mechanism to raise funds and profile for nature conservation work.
The workshop in November gave the participating groups an opportunity to learn more about how crowdfunding works and to help each other build a stronger case for their individual campaigns.
Some of the feedback included:
- De-mystifying the whole crowdfunding thing and helped that it was such a friendly atmosphere;
- Aware now of how to build a strong campaign and avoid the pitfalls;
- Pooling collective ideas and experience.
The workshop was facilitated by Anne Strachan of CrowdfundUK and funded by Natural England.
Pete Johnstone of PJ.elements said, If crowdfunding can deliver benefits for business, then it can work for nature too, we have just got to get better at engaging a wider audience in the work that we do.
As the campaigns get launched we will be promoting them on this website as well as elsewhere so watch out for them and please support them if you can.
Thanks to Watergull Orchards for donating a case of their excellent apple juice for our lunch!
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.
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!
Images © Pete Johnstone
Do you want to put right an environmental injustice or think you have suffered an injustice and want to raise funds to support your case? But a lack of funding stands in the way?
Well now there is hope as a committed team of lawyers have set up a crowdfunding platform to help you raise the funds for any legal action required and to you build that all important community support. CrowdJustice is a funding platform where you can come together with your community to build support and share the costs of taking legal action for issues that affect your community.
At the moment the CrowdJustice team are only supporting cases on an invitation only basis – contact the team for more information. This is a great and timely idea and a novel use of the crowdfunding concept.