West Wight People and Place

The West Wight People and Place project is taking shape. A few more portraits to take and then final preparation for the exhibition early next year.

Remember those old grainy black and white photographs of farm workers starring at the camera, their names, now long forgotten?

Well, the idea behind West Wight People and Place is to try and capture a more modern version of the community in the West Wight area. People who are, in some way, connected with the land, sea, community or heritage of this wind-swept corner of the Isle of Wight.

Its a moment in time.

Photography: Pete Johnstone

 

Isle of Wight – environmental grant funding support and advice from PJ.elements

PJ.elements update

Our move from Cambridgeshire to the Isle of Wight has been successful and we are now looking to continue our work to help communities and environmental organisations both here on the Island and elsewhere in the UK.

The work that PJ.elements can provide includes:

Project development

Developing funding plans, scoping funding opportunities and working with organisations with business planning and raising the profile and public appeal of your organisation.

Examples of previous work: Funding plans for the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces, the charity Cambridge Past Present and Future. Audience development work for Heritage Lottery Fund funded landscape partnership schemes and a funding and right of way project with the rural charity Cambridgeshire ACRE.

Fundraising

Fundraising for specific projects and help with applications to lottery bodies, trusts and foundations, including supporting crowdfunding campaigns.

Examples of previous work: Project managing a crowdfunding campaign * with Natural England and 5 wildlife organisations and successful fundraising for a Local Nature Partnership.

Photography

Our photography has been used widely to support funding bids, help illustrate work in progress and providing stock images for PR purposes. The focus of the photography is around people and the environment.

Examples of previous work: Commissioned work for WildlifeTrustBCN, the David Attenborough Conservation Building and numerous HLF funded projects.

Pete Johnstone who runs PJ.elements is keen to hear from parish councils, community groups and environmental organisations who may need help in any of the above areas.

For an informal chat to discuss your project ideas and to get a quote please contact:

Pete Johnstone

Email: pete.johnstone (at) btinternet.com

Phone: 07842 572632

*As part of the evaluation the Crowdfunding Nature campaign we made a video Tips for Success – watch it here > :  https://youtu.be/WIPa4SzTWn0

 

 

 

Goodbye East Anglia!

After 23 glorious years living in East Anglia we are heading south. We will be leaving behind some wonderful friends and a rich and varied landscape full of colour and interest. When I joined the Cambridge office of the Countryside Commission in 1993 someone said to me the landscape was flat and boring – how wrong could they be. It is a fantastic place and I will be sad to go.

Now it is time to try somewhere new and we are heading to the Isle of Wight to find new landscapes and to meet new friends. As we make the move PJ.elements will be taking a break for a while and will hopefully re -surface again in September with a new home and camera in hand!

With best wishes,

Pete Johnstone

Elements of the Landscape

Now at the start of April, Elements in the Landscape is just beginning to take shape with lots of phone calls resulting in some more people allowing me to take their photograph. My project is very much about the people in the landscape and their connection to it as it is about the landscape itself.

Jenny Furong, Chatteris Museum

Jenny Furlong, Chatteris Museum

Jenny Furlong is the volunteer Curator of Chatteris Museum, a post she has held for 15 years and now shares with Ian Mason. The Museum moved to the present location in Chatteris in 1995.

One of the exhibits in the Museum is on Cornelius Vermuyden who in the 1650s commissioned by the Crown, directed major projects to drain the Fens and who constructed a system of ‘washes’, to allow periodic flooding of the area by water.

 

Paul Fox and Peter Gardiner, Welney

Paul Fox and Peter Gardiner, Welney

Welney Residents Users Group is a community action group that was formed in 2014 and established as a charity in March 2015. In April 2015 RUG took over the lease of Sandgate Corner – a large overgrown field in the north of the village. Welney RUG are in the process of turning the area into a community greenspace and wildlife area, with orchard, sensory garden and play area.

Peter Gardiner pruning in the orchard

Peter Gardiner pruning in the orchard.

Peter Gardiner a resident of Welney for almost 17 years and a member of RUG has recently retired and has spent some of his spare time helping with the selection, planning and planting of the orchard and native trees.

The young fruit trees will require yearly pruning and with this in mind Peter and another resident recently attended a pruning course with the East of England Apples and Orchards Project to learn the necessary skills required to maintain the new fruit trees.

 

Fred Ingrams painting in the fens

Fred Ingrams painting in the fens.

The fens have changed my life said Fred, an artist who has a passion for painting the fens landscape. I will be painting a scene when a farmer will come up to me and tell me some amazing stories, there is a certain quality about the fen people and landscape which is unique and not to be found anywhere else.

PJ.elements have been awarded a small grant by the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme to deliver Elements of the Landscape, a project to photograph people living and working in the Ouse Washes landscape and document their story through images. The people captured in the portraits will have a connection to the land or water, farming, biodiversity crafts or community life.

The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme 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.

Crowdfunding Nature underway

The Crowdfunding Nature initiative is now well under way with Froglife successfully raising over £3500 for their nature reserve project in Peterborough.

Three other campaigns are currently live and it would be great if you could support them;

They include
The Greensand Trust’s Love a duck:http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/love-a-duck/

The National Trusts Dormice project: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/giving-the-dormice-of-danbury-a-home/

And the Wildlife Trust BCN’s Great Fen Project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wildlifebcn/great-fen-great-fun

The East of England Biodiversity Forum with the support of Natural England is testing the effectiveness of crowdfunding to help raise the profile and funding for nature based activities in the East of England. The cost of maintaining and further improving sites of high nature conservation interest is significant.

These costs are further increased when public access, learning and education programmes are being encouraged on these sites. As funding from the more traditional sources is becoming more and more competitive crowdfunding is being looked at as a way of boosting funds for specific projects.

However, if the ‘crowd’ doesn’t pledge anything towards the projects then they won’t proceed. One project from Froglife has already been successful in raising £3500 for their nature reserve in Peterborough, 3 more projects have now gone live, some with only a couple of weeks left to raise the funds.

PS. All the video’s are worth watching – great fun was had by all!

The wildlife property developer of the fens

At first glance the Fens landscape surrounding the Ouse Washes does not feel like a place that is rich in wildlife, indeed it is has a strong farming heritage and is well known in the UK for growing salad crops, root vegetables and wheat in the low lying fertile soils. However, I was to learn something different as I was to meet Cliff Carson the Environmental Officer for the Middle Level Commissioners, the organisation that manages the flood defence and water levels in the Ouse Washes area and beyond.

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The Middle Level Commissioners.

As I drove down a narrow fen road to meet Cliff I passed by several half – built and now derelict bungalows which for some untold reason had been abandoned by the owners before they were completed and they looked a real mess and blot on the landscape. I met up with Cliff and we drove off in his truck to survey work he has done over the last five years for the Middle Level Internal Drainage Board Biodiversity Action Plan. Essentially wildlife improvements for the most threatened plants and animals that require some conservation help along the way, both to increase their numbers and the places where they live.

Over the length of the day we visited pumping stations to inspect on bat boxes and barn owl boxes that Cliff had constructed over the last five years. In fact, 92 barn owl boxes to be exact, erected in barns and on the sides of pumping stations – these boxes are well used and are really important for the breeding success of the owls as there is precious little natural nesting sites for the birds.

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Inspecting a barn owl box on the side of a pumping station.

The reason for meeting Cliff was as part of my Elements in the Landscape project to photograph people who live and work in the Ouse Washes landscape and who have some connection with it – and Cliff certainly fitted my criteria as he spent over 30 years with the RSPB at the Ouse Washes reserve and more recently 10 years with the Middle Level Commissioners.

Under a road bridge Cliff showed me the difference between otter spraints and mink scats, with the former apparently having a strong musky smell, not that I noticed that much on the cold February morning! It is good to know the otter is holding its own in the area, although some are being found drowned in the illegal eel nets as eel numbers begin to increase.   Cliff has helped the otter population too with constructing over 70 otter holts along the banks of the drains with the help of funding from Landfill Community Fund grants.

 

 

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Clearing out kingfisher holes in the metal revetment.

The Kingfisher is another species that has had a helping hand – here Cliff has bored over 150 holes at over 80 locations in the metal revetments to create artificial nest sites and during our trip around the Washes Cliff got busy deepening the holes to get the right angle so that the Kingfishers can fly up from just above the water into the nest.

Our day finished, we drove back and Cliff joked that he is sometimes referred to as the wildlife property developer of the fens as so much of his time is spent constructing homes for wildlife.  It is more than likely that much of his wildlife home making will last for decades and will a great legacy for wildlife, which is more than can be said for the property developer of the decaying bungalows I passed on my way home.

Pete Johnstone.

 

 

 

 

PJ.elements have been awarded a small grant by the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme to deliver Elements of the Landscape, a project to photograph people living and working in the Ouse Washes landscape and document their story through images. The people captured in the portraits will have a connection to the land or water, farming, biodiversity crafts or community life.

The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme 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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Little egrets and whooper swans in the distance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crowdfunding Nature: Love a Duck campaign!

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.

Crowdfunding will be used to replace the old boardwalk

Crowdfunding will be used to replace the old 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 crowdfunding video

The crowdfunding video

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.

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Watch out for the Love a Duck crowdfunding campaign coming soon!

Photo: Pete Johnstone

 

 

Crowdfunding Nature with Froglife

Project Update. Froglife’s campaign is now live – please support it if you can: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/hoppy-families

 

At last the vision of Crowdfunding Nature is beginning to take shape. I spent a lovely morning with Cat Duerden from Froglife at their Boardwalks Local Nature Reserve in Peterborough as they filmed their pitch for their first venture into crowdfunding.

Cat explained: Froglife are planning to launch our exciting new crowdfunding campaign in early February to raise £3500 to create a ‘Hoppy Families’ Nature Trail. As part the campaign we want to encourage more people to visit the Boardwalks as although the reserve is free and easily accessible and close to the city centre, few people seem to know about this beautiful greenspace.

Getting the filming script right

Getting the filming script right.

Crowdfunding Nature is a pilot project being run by the East of England Biodiversity Forum with Natural England to test the effectiveness of crowdfunding to help raise the profile and funding for nature based activities in the East of England. Close behind Froglife are 6 other environmental groups working up their own crowdfunding project to be launched in the coming months.

The Crowdfunding Nature project initiated by PJ.elements with the help of CrowdfundUK is providing training and ongoing support for the environmental groups involved in the project.

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The Boardwalks Local Nature Reserve, Peterborough.

Crowdfunding has proved itself as an effective way of doing commerce in the business world yet I believe their are real opportunities for nature to benefit as well. We just need to get the right mix of people and projects together and inspire public to get involved. I am looking forward to the Froglife crowdfunding campaign coming out and seeing the video too – it is going to be fun!

I will be sure to blog the crowdfunding campaigns on this website and on Twitter as they go live – all help in promoting the campaigns once launched we be gratefully appreciated.

Pete Johnstone

PJ.elements

Photos: ©Pete Johnstone.

Main picture: Katie with video, Cat Duerden centre and Richard with Lionel the Frog.

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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Crowdfunding Nature Workshop

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.

    Crowdfunding Nature workshop, Cambridge

    Crowdfunding Nature workshop, Cambridge

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!