Moravian Messenger March 2022
P. 1

 MARCH 2022
   Rewilding God's Acre
With fewer natural habitats left in the world, conservationists are now looking for green spaces within urban areas and intensive agricultural land to lead the way in protecting wildlife. Green spaces such as parks, gardens, and roadside verges, are now being transformed into biodiversity hotspots in several ways - planting of native flowers, plants and trees and providing safe spaces for animals such as, insect hotels, hedgehog houses and bird and bat boxes. The public are being encouraged to rewild their gardens with new incentives such as 'No Mow May' ( Whilst a lot of attention has been placed on these spaces, only recently have conservationists started paying attention to burial grounds. Very little information is available on the biodiversity potential of burial grounds but one thing that scientists are sure of is that they could play a very important role in conservation.
Due to the protected status of most burial grounds and their importance in religious and cultural traditions, these sites have remained relatively untouched for potentially hundreds of years. Burial grounds now occupy a huge amount of green space within urban areas and may already be host to rare plants and animals that have survived in these urban oases for centuries. The Moravian Church in the UK owns numerous burial grounds with some in use and some no longer in use. These sites have
Woodford Halse Moravian Burial Ground
the potential to play a vital role in conservation efforts and to combat climate change as well. Plans have been implemented in some Moravian burial grounds to increase their suitability for native animals and plants.
My study was inspired by one burial ground, Woodford Halse in Daventry. It is no longer in use and huge efforts to rewild the space are underway. The management of the site has been changed to prioritise conservation efforts whilst continuing to respect the religious traditions and people who on occasion will visit the graves of their relatives. The burial ground in Woodford Halse is the perfect example of how these sites can drive positive change and make a difference to the abundance of native animals whilst maintaining the traditional standards of the burial ground. Those that know of Woodford Halse may suggest that there is plenty of green space surrounding it already, so surely the wildlife in that area is doing fine. However, farmland acts as a desert for animals and plants. Green fields are dominated by one or two crop species which tend to be non- native and cannot support insects and other native animals. Crops and fields for livestock take up large quantities of land which lead to them being one of the main causes of habitat and species loss in the world.
continue inside on page 28
      Art in Our Time
(page 27)
Being the Church in
and after COVID: Challenges and Opportunities (page 30)
Unity Mission and Development Board, Dar Es Salaam
(page 32)
Hospitality in Herrnhut
(page 33)
© Imogen Newens-Hill

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