A new year: the door behind quietly closing and the one in front standing ajar ready for that gentle push that will open it onto a new path. A time for reflection; a time to look back on what happened and then forward with plans that will shape the year to come.
One of our group’s highest points last year was Greening Steyning’s monthly Green Drinks in October when we packed the main hall in the Steyning Centre for a talk given by Amy and Alex from Weald to Waves.
Why did people come? Curiosity? The desire to find out more? A hungry need to hear about something good and positive taking place to protect the wildlife we share our planet with? An antidote to all the debilitating gloom and doom we have created around climate change and species extinction that cripples us from doing something about it? An answer to the desperate question of “what can I do to help”?
Would the talk give the audience what it needed?
No problem! Alex delivered all the answers to why W2W is needed and how the project is evolving, and Amy opened up the opportunity for everyone to play their own role in creating stepping-stones to carry the proposed 100-mile wildlife corridor on its journey through Sussex by pledging their gardens and green spaces as wildlife friendly areas.
But it was a hedgehog that stole the show! A hedgehog caught on a night camera drinking from a newly created wildlife pond Alex had dug in his garden. An “aaah” moment that everyone would carry away with them and which tipped the balance when Amy asked if Greening Steyning would pledge support for the project and become their first Community Champion. Who could refuse?
So, this year Greening Steyning moves forward with a new partnership. We already share the W2W vision of making space for nature but this year we will be adding an extra layer to what we do by agreeing to be an ambassador for Weald to Waves. We will represent and promote the project through everything that we normally do, be it through encouraging wildlife friendly gardening, our links with other conservation groups, our involvement in the management of green spaces around us and our surveying work.
We encourage everyone across Sussex to pledge their support and please join us in becoming Community Champions too.
Steyning sits at the heart of the corridor and is alive with civic action for nature. Take a look at other local successes.
The Steyning Downland Scheme was launched in 2007 when the Goring family decided to set aside 67 hectares (165 acres) of the Wiston Estate in the South Downs National Park for the benefit of the community, the land and its wildlife. You can read more about how it all began here. Chairman, and W2W founder, Rick Goring says: "The purpose of this project is to encourage us to learn what is happening in the local environment and act from that starting point. Particularly, we want to engage young people in understanding the world around them and how it is changing. The hope is to foster a meeting of different minds and people, coming together in the pursuit of seeing the everyday miracle of creation and being inspired to hope for the future in a slightly fractured and despairing world.”
Steyning For Trees (SFT) is a community group formed to help fight climate change by promoting the planting of more trees. SFT have been planting hedgerows to act as wildlife corridors for years. These enable birds, invertebrates and fauna to travel along protected pathways so they can spread their genes over a wider area and use the hedges for food, shelter and nest building, and while helping to sequester carbon. They have planted over 20 hedges and 100 trees on verges across the parish, helping to connect wildlife sites to the Adur river restoration at Knepp. They received an Award from the Queen's Green Canopy Scheme in 2023.