This is an article our own Jon Sayer (Trustee, volunteer, biscuit-eater) wrote for Lampeter’s local publication “Grapevine”. Their subject for this May’s edition was “Environmental Impact”. It would be a shame for all you good people who don’t live in our lovely part of the world to miss out.
The words “Environmental Impact” tend to make us think exclusively of negative things. Deforestation, air pollution and nuclear weapons all help to connect these two words to the perceived catastrophic state we find the planet in today. Yet, these two words are at the heart of what conservation centres like Denmark Farm do every day.
Denmark Farm is, in one way, badly named. It’s not in Denmark (unless Betws Bledrws has joined forces with Greenland and the Faroe Islands recently) and it isn’t a farm. At least, it isn’t now. Once upon a time (before 1984, in fact), it was lush chemically-enhanced green fields with a few hedges and even fewer trees. There was little native wildlife, as there was no habitat for it to live in, and farming and wildlife were seen as incompatible back then. It was one or the other.
The transformation back to woodland and meadows took time and a lot of hard work. Maintaining it still does, largely because no bramble has ever thought “Enough is enough. I think I’ll stop growing now.” Our volunteers do a lot of work, as do participants on the coppicing courses, the gardening courses and the hedge-laying courses. And there’s an environmental impact right there, a positive one. People interacting with the environment, to allow it to flourish and go about its business. Wildlife moving in and setting up.
Thirty-one years on and the list of wildlife species is huge, and growing. The environmental impact on flora and fauna has been enormous and positive. Come and walk around now, as spring is, you know, springing and see what I mean. Trees where once were open fields. Small mammals where once were sheep. Cute highland cattle where once were cattle (OK, not everything has changed).
There is another, less visible environmental impact. More and more people are coming here to reconnect with nature, have some time to themselves, find some peace. There is a hidden desire in everyone to step out of the world and away from its troubles for a while. Until commercial spaceflight becomes affordable, the next best alternative is a stroll through everything that nature can offer. The birdsong. The vivid colours of the trees. The smell of the flowers. The feel of the earth beneath your feet.
These are the environmental impacts that the planet Earth needs. Impacts that strengthen nature and make people feel connected, in a natural sense, and happy.
Happy people mean a happy planet. And a happy planet means those people have a planet to live on. Win-win!
PLEASE HELP DENMARK FARM TO CONTINUE TO DELIVER POSITIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS – SPONSOR OUR TEAM ON THEIR WALK FOR WILDLIFE HERE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!