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.
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.
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.
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.
Photos: ©Pete Johnstone.
Main picture: Katie with video, Cat Duerden centre and Richard with Lionel the Frog.
Over the next couple of months PJ.elements will be joining forces with Cambridgeshire ACRE to undertake the Wisbech Missing Links project.
Wisbech and the surrounding fenland villages having been recognised as having poor access to local services and the surrounding countryside due to a fragmented rights of way network. This project aims to make access from the villages surrounding Wisbech into the market town through joining up the rights of way network.
The Wisbech Missing Links project aims to:
1. Improve the existing rights of way network around Wisbech to make it more accessible and ‘user-friendly’ for local people to use and;
2. Increase the number of local people using the rights of way network in and around Wisbech for both access to services and for leisure purposes.
The project is funded by Cambridgeshire County Council and is undertaken with the support of the Cambridgeshire Local Access Forum (CLAF).
The CLAF played a major role in the development of the Cambridgeshire Rights of Way Improvement Plan and it identifies Fenland as one of the areas for for right of way network improvements.
Cambridgeshire Local Access Forum (CLAF), is a statutory body, set up under the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW), to provide advice to local authorities and other statutory undertakers on access to the countryside, is keen to work with others on improving the rights of way network, in and around Wisbech; and as a way of increasing the opportunities for local residents to access local services, surrounding countryside and green space.
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.
More High Line images can be viewed here.
Well done to the charity greenspace scotland for having the initiative and for being brave enough to trial out environmental crowdfunding as a way of funding improvements to local green space in Scotland. With funding and support from Nesta’s Rethinking Parks programme and the Heritage Lottery Fund they have created their own bespoke crowdfunding platform for Scottish parks and greenspace.
The eventual success of MyParkScotland will no doubt lie in the hands of local communities coming up with the projects and finding the funds to make them happen themselves. However, could the wider UK (and even further afield?) parks and greenspace community give them a helping hand and support them on their way by making a small donation online? If we as a community can prove that environmental crowdfunding can work then friends of parks groups and greenspace organisations across the UK and elsewhere will learn and may gain from this success.
Julie Procter, CEO of greenspace scotland explains the background:
“With funding pressures, finding new and innovative ways to make the financing and management of parks and greenspace sustainable is vital to ensuring their future. We need to make sure we maintain and keep our parks in good heart today and for the benefit of generations to come. MyParkScotland is our response to this challenge.
MyParkScotland provides a new way to raise funds for projects in parks today and to develop endowment funds to safeguard these national treasures for future generations.
Park users often told us they would like to be able to support their local park but there wasn’t an easy way to do this. That’s why we developed MyParkScotland as a safe and easy way for people to donate to support park improvement projects developed by Friends of Parks and other local groups.
What makes MyParkScotland different to many traditional crowdfunding platforms is that, as an independent Scottish charity, we are able to reclaim Gift Aid on most donations. This ‘extra funding’ is being used to build sustainability and endowment funds for Scotland’s parks. If there isn’t a current project in their favourite park, park lovers are also able to make donations through the website to a specific park or city park endowment fund.
We’re pioneering the development of MyParkScotland in Edinburgh and Glasgow, with the intention to extend across Scotland. We hope that MyParkScotland will make an important contribution to the future sustainability of our parks and will encourage people to think about using crowdfunding as part of the project funding mix.
We would be delighted if supporters of environmental crowdfunding would take a look at the MyParkScotland website – we’d love to hear your feedback – and you might like to make a small pledge to support one of the projects!”
MyParkScotland is the only Scottish project within Nesta’s Rethinking Parks programme and is funded by Nesta and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Rethinking Parks aims to support organisations to develop new approaches to sustaining and making the most of the UK’s parks.
Pete Johnstone is an advocate of environmental crowdfunding and his case study on the subject can be seen here
Images: © greenspace scotland