OUR LIVING CHURCHYARDS
From snowdrops to primroses, daffodils, bluebells and violets, the array of wild flowers in both Michaelstow and St Tudy churchyards are drawing compliments all round.
Long established as a Living Churchyard, Michaelstow is well ahead in the wildlife stakes with shorter grass pathways between the flowers meandering alongside the graves.
A relaxation in the grass cutting regime at St Tudy is reaping benefits this spring.
The grass may be a little longer than usual but that allows the wild flowers to bloom and seed, attracting insects to further pollinate as well as feeding birds, bats and other wildlife.
Even the odd hedgehog has been sighted.
The new apple tree has blossomed and we have more seeds ready to plant now we are getting a better idea of the wildflower meadow areas.
As well as cutting some pathways, we need to tackle the more overgrown areas around some graves and provide seating areas.
We also want to develop information boards to help everyone get more out of their visits to the churchyard.
The importance of the Living Churchyard scheme was emphasised last month when several major reports publicised the rapidly declining wildlife with many species facing extinction.
Churchyards, often called God's Acre, have been cherished ground for centuries and can be the last remaining habitat for vulnerable plants and creatures. Who knows what rare species may be surviving in Michaelstow and St Tudy?
Aiming for both our churches to be accredited as Living Churchyards is the next step in our parish's commitment to the environment after receiving the Green Church Kernow award in November.
We still need someone to volunteer as our Environmental Champion and anyone interested can find out more from Ginny Straugheir on 852054.
You do not need to be a churchgoer to help protect and nurture our natural environment
GREEN CHAMPIONS SOUGHT
Volunteers from across the church spectrum (not just Church of England) are sought to become local environmental champions.
Training, resources and support will be available from the diocesan environmental officer.
Tuesday, July 2: 6-8.30pm, All Saints Church, Falmouth
Friday, July 12: 6-8.30pm, St Wenn Church
Saturday, July 20: 11am -1.30pm, St Andrews Church, Redruth.
To book a place email firstname.lastname@example.org
GREEN CHURCH KERNOW
Some simple changes can make all the difference and we are gradually widening the scope of what we do.
For example we now offer Fair Trade tea and coffee to the congregation after services with the aim of registering as a Fair Trade Church in the future. The smell of delicious real coffee is encouraging more people to stay and chat and persuading some to consider buying Fair Trade for home use too.
Outside we are turning our attention to the care of the churchyard.
Have you ever wondered how old our churchyards could be? A quick look at the gravestones might suggest two or three hundred years but in reality they are a lot older than that. They have always surrounded the church building and may be much older than the existing structure, older even than the very first church constructed on that site.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the churchyard or God’s Acre in St Tudy has been there for as long as two thousand years or more.
Largely undisturbed it may be a microcosm of past natural habitat, plants and creatures. We are now seeking advice from experts in Living Churchyards about how to encourage the return of what may be rare plants and discussing with national tree experts the health of our many trees and shrubs.
GREEN CHURCH KERNOW
A lot can happen in a month and we have certainly been busy with visitors and gifts to help us protect and improve the environment around St Tudy and Michaelstow Churchyards and the local area.
In response to concerns from villagers in St Tudy we invited renowned international tree expert Keith Rushforth to do a health check on the Churchyard and Cemetery trees. His visit, paid for by the Diocese, was very encouraging.
He was pleased with the removal of dead and overhanging branches and felling a sycamore since his last visit two years ago.
This time there is no essential work required although he agreed several trees beside the school and School Lane could have overhanging branches cut back.
Our next visitor was Robert Moor, Co-ordinator of the Living Churchyard’s Scheme run by Cornwall Wildlife and the Diocese.
He was delighted by Michaelstow Churchyard as an example of good practice. Paths are cut through the grass which had been left to grow for wild flowers while the Bell Garden, where burials take place, is cut shorter, there are traditional compost bins and log piles left as habitat for wildlife.
He used that as an example of good practice and asked us not to cut grass lower than two – three inches while leaving it to longer in less used areas so that wild flowers may return and flourish.
He was shocked by the huge compost pile under the trees beside the Clink and urged removal because it is wrongly sited and does not compost the waste. We now have a new compost area at the back of the church.
Meanwhile our free gifts from the Diocese Environment Team included three compost bins. One in the cemetery and another near the area where ashes are interred in the churchyard so two in the churchyard. We also have several water butts, an insect box, apple tree and wildflower seeds to plant.
St Tudy with Michaelstow PCC has recieved a Bronze Environmental Award from Green Church Kernow. It was presented during a special service in St Tudy Church at 11:05am on Sunday 4th November.
Afterwards there was an opportunity to chat to Luci Isaacson about her electric car which was charged at The Clink.