Over the last couple of months I have been working with other organisations whose role it is to care about the natural world and more specifically the countryside around us.
Kenny Mackay is a wonderful man, full of fun and mischief and with an eye for doing things to help nature along the way. He works for the Countryside Restoration Trust, an organisation whose mission is to help nature and man live together in mutually beneficial ways. Kenny was a mine of useful information and the Trust support farms to fulfil their obligations to the natural world and maintain their own survival.
Remarkably, Kenny and I have both done the same training course with the lovely people at Capel Manor College, who run Countryside Management courses, which include the safe use of chain saws in their Forestry and Arboriculture schools.
Working in the heart of Panshanger Forest with ancient trees was a wonderful insight into the commercial usage of trees as well as the magnificent setting and integration of the mix of creatures all dependent one upon the other.
An oak tree can support around 1,000 other species and I was fortunate enough recently to watch barn owls swooping down from their man made homes to devour voles which had come to live in the long grass left to grow on a privately owned piece of land.
An oak tree of course grows from a tiny acorn and this interest in nature, if sparked at an early age, can feed a person from the cradle to the grave, growing in its diversity, depth and appreciation.
Recently Rozelle and I have been invited to Hollybush School to watch their Farm Rap and this example of outdoor education for a group of 31 children from winter through to the summer has been an example of the impact this type of education can have. (see School Visit and Job Well Done)
There are indeed lots of people out there who care about the Countryside. Thank God.