The Solent, a tree, a country park and something special

It is not often you come across something special, but today was that day when walking along the shore at Fort Victoria Country Park I came across David Wallace and his horizontal tree carving.  Horizontal as the sea is ever encroaching on the land and the holm oaks are forever slip sliding into the sea.

David has taken to carving the fallen trees and this one is of the animal life of the Solent, both past and present. David stopped work for a moment and we counted how many species he had done. 24, no it was 25 in all as he had forgotten to count the seal at the base of the tree.

The Solent and the tree

View across the Solent from where David is carving the fallen tree.

I came back later in the day as David had kindly allowed me to take photos of him and his work. Whilst there I watched him engage with passers by enthralled by his work – he really is knowledgeable about the marine environment and people keep asking questions – often he spends more time talking to people than carving – but then it is all voluntary, so there are no targets to keep.

It’s the ‘aquarium’ for the ranger explained David – much easier to illustrate what lives in the sea than from any book or a picture. David has been carving since 8 years old, mostly public works of art with the occasional private commission. The Solent carving has taken two months and he says he will keep going until it is finished or indeed until it gets washed away by the sea.

Tree carving

Admiring the tree carving on the shoreline

A passer-by asked me what my favourite carving was, I immediately said the limpet, but on second thoughts it’s probably the sand slater or maybe even the stingray…

Location: Fort Victoria Country Park, Isle of Wight.

Addendum: This year we celebrate the Countryside Act’s 50th Anniversary.  One of the outcomes of the Act was the creation of Country Parks – and a key component of Country Parks was enjoyment of the countryside and I reckon David Wallace’s work is a fine example of Country Parks in action today.

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.

 

Photographing the Greensand Country

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.

 

 

Isle of Wight hedge laying competition

This was the first hedgelaying competition I have been to on the Island. It was an enjoyable day, well attended with wonderful sunny weather.

The standard was high and it was good to see younger entrants as well as the more experienced hedge layers.

Also a good rich source of images for me including of course portraits.

Plenty of sponsors – Landscape Therapy; Wight AONB; Pinkeye Graphics Ltd

All entrants had given their photo permissions.

Coombe Farm, Isle of Wight

Photos: Pete Johnstone

 

West Wight People and Place

My aim over 2017 with West Wight People and Place was to try and capture a sense of place of the area, through photographing people in the rural community of West Wight – and through them their activities and connections to heritage, land, sea and community.

Whether I have achieved my ambition or not is open to question, but personally I have certainly learnt a lot about this part of the Isle of Wight such as the social issues around living in coastal towns and the management of landscape of the Wight AONB and Heritage Coast.

The people in the photographs are undertaking a whole range of activities to be found on this western tip of the island and include cattle farming at Alum Bay, next to the world famous Needles to willow weaving an arbor on the wildlife rich Yar estuary, just a few minutes walk from Yarmouth.

James Osman, Warren Farm, Alum Bay

Each picture in the exhibition has some accompanying text about the person in the photograph to explain who they are and there connection to the West Wight area. Other people featured include a shepherd, artist, historian, community activist, cabinet maker and more.

Kingsley Hollis, Shepherd, Newtown National Nature Reserve

An image from West Wight people and Place

Joanna English, Artist, Headon Warren

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exhibition is being held at the Dimbola Museum and Galleries in Freshwater Bay from the 26th January until the 13th May.

Further details to be found Here 

West Wight People and Place (Isle of Wight)

Final (frantic?) touches are going into the exhibition which launches next week at the Dimbola Museum and Galleries, in Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight.

I am really looking forward to the exhibition opening and show casing the many fascinating people I have photographed in West Wight over the past year.

West Wight People and Place seeks to capture the contribution that people are making to this diverse rural community, be it around the sea, landscape, heritage or the community itself.

Also great to be co-hosted with Jan Ramscar.

Pete Johnstone

 

 

 

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 travels (May)

I am still very much enjoying exploring my new surroundings on the isle of Wight – not yet a year in and still so much more to see – I enjoyed the walk around Mill Copse a woodland managed my the Wight Fund for Nature a volunteer group who manage several other nature reserves on the Island.

I’m pleased to be working with Freshwater Parish Council on their rich array of green spaces dotted around the village which include recreation ground, sports field, ancient wood and pond complete with a floating island. The council owned green spaces link in well with rights of way and other open space managed by a variety of organisations.

Energy is a new crop – Solar Panels are now to be found on many farms and Rye is a popular crop to be grown – not for food but for the anaerobic digester plant on the island.

Talking to the willow worker I met in Yarmouth, I learnt that local fishermen use to weave lobster pots from the willows growing along the River Yar, this craft is no longer around, but good to see a willow bower being made alongside the footpath looking up the estuary.

New sources of grant funding available

As we move into February grants and funding for community and environmental organisations is beginning to pick up and it is good to see some new funding coming on stream. In this months blog I have picked out several grants which will hopefully be of interest to you. If they are of help and you are successful in getting funding I would love to hear about it.

BBC Children in Need – Small Grants programme (UK)

Grants up to £10,000 are available for not for profit organisations per year for up to 3 years through the BBC Children in Need Small Grants programme. Funding is available for children and young people aged 18 and under who are experiencing disadvantage, any kind of disability, behavioural difficulties and /or living in poverty or deprivation.

Further details here

Deadline: 1st March 2017

Suez Communities Trust (Formerly the Sita Trust) (England and Scotland)

Landfill Communities Fund funding from this excellently run scheme for community facilities and wildlife projects. Grants of up to £20,000 are available through its Smaller Project Fund and up to £50,000 through the Primary Fund. As it is Landfill Community Funding, to be eligible, your project has to be near a SUEZ Recycling and Recovery waste processing site.

Further details here

Deadline: 24th April 2017

Try for Change Funding

In partnership with England rugby, Comic Relief is launching its first initiative through the Try for Change Fund on the 6th February 2017.

The Try for Change Fund is a small grants programme aimed at supporting smaller charities, community groups and local community rugby clubs in England. Organisations can apply for between £2,500 and £10,000 for up to 12 months.

Further details here

Grow Wild – grants for young people (UK)

Young people aged between 12 and 25 can apply for grants of up to £500 for projects that raise the awareness about the importance of UK native wild flowers and plants.

The funding is being made available through Grow Wild, the biggest ever wild flower campaign, bringing people together to transform local spaces with native wild flowers and plants. Other funding is also available.

Further details: here

Deadline 27th February 2017

Coastal Communities (UK)

Some positive funding news from the Government! The Government has announced that the Coastal Communities Fund, a UK-wide programme designed to support the economic development of coastal communities is to be extended by four years and that a further 28 teams are to be set up.

Each team – made up of local volunteers, councils and local businesses will receive an initial £10,000 each to develop a blueprint for economic growth and be offered support from a network geared towards regenerating seaside areas.

Further details: here

Deadline date unclear.

British Ecological Society Outreach Grants

Through the BES Outreach programme, individuals, and not for profit organisations can apply for grants to promote ecological science to a wide audience. The funding is available for projects that increase understanding of, and engagement with ecology.

Maximum award is £2,000

Further details: here

Deadline: 22nd March 2017

Grow the Game

The Football Foundation’s Grow the game Fund grant scheme will reopen on the 1st February 2017.

The aim of the fund is to increase participation in football by bth players and volunteers. Organisations are able to receive £1,500 per new team created over two to three years with financial support being reduced in the second and third year of the project.

Deadline: 29th March 2017

Further details: here

Other grants available.

On the sport side – worth investigating some interesting new grants from Sport England. On the community side the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme is going from strength to strength and has just announced £18. 5 million for community projects in England. I also expect we will soon hear who has been successful in the Great Place Scheme. This new pilot scheme is funded by the HLF, Arts Council and Historic England  with the aim of putting arts, culture and heritage in the heart of communities – this is the sort of grants scheme I really like – a good amount of money and one that works across traditional sector boundaries.

Crowdfunding

It is pleasing to see more and more organisations are trying their hand at crowdfunding to raise much needed cash for community and environmental projects. This is good news but many of the groups fail to use the tried and tested techniques that help them maximise their chance of reaching their target. The Crowdfunding Nature project we did last year was pulled together by an evaluation video – Tips for Success in running a crowdfunding campaign. It can be seen here.

PJ.elements can help with scoping funds for community and environmental projects – if you would like to see how we can help please contact me via the contact page.

All the best

Pete

Feature Picture: My January travels around the Isle of Wight.

 

 

Red Squirrels: A Future in the Forest, a Crowdfunding project from Scotland

Here is an opportunity to contribute to a crowdfunding project in Scotland combining Red Squirrels, a life time passion and some stunning  photography.

Today  sees  the  launch  of  a  crowd  funding  campaign  to  raise  funds  for  The  Red  Squirrel:  A  Future  in   the  Forest  -­‐  an  exciting  new  photo  book  from  wildlife  photographer  Neil McIntyre,  with  words  from   celebrated  author  Polly  Pullar.

The  book  will  be  packed  with  Neil’s  jaw-­‐dropping  images  and   evocatively  portrays  not  only  the  lives  of  his local  squirrels,  but  the  forest  home  they  depend  on.

The   crowd  funding  campaign  runs  throughout  November  and  is  all  or  nothing.  Any  support  you’re  able  to   provide  is  hugely appreciated,  whether  it’s  spreading  the  word  or snapping  up  an  exclusive  reward.

UPDATE: Project raised in excess of £25,000 through crowdfunding – well done to the team! It certainly shows that with a good idea, excellent networking and a good team, environmental crowdfunding can really bring success. 

Visit the campiagn on Kickstarter here

Photo and video credits: Neil McIntyre