Churches partnering with conservation groups to connect better with nature

Members of Belhelvie church near Aberdeen have been learning how to turn their church grounds into a wildlife conservation area(Photo: Church of Scotland)

Churches in Scotland are being encouraged to turn their grounds into wildlife habitats with the help of conservation groups.

The partnerships are being formed thanks to a new scheme launched last year by RSPB Scotland, Eco Congregation Scotland, the Church of Scotland, and the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Belhelvie Church in Aberdeenshire is one of the first churches to pilot the Faith Action for Nature project encouraging churches to engage with their natural surroundings.

Faith Action for Nature provides resources and advice to help churches establish links with local conservation groups.

As part of the project, members of the Belhelvie congregation have been working with the RSPB on how they can make their church grounds a home for birds and other wildlife. 

They have also been visiting lochs and wildlife reserves, and will soon be learning how to build their own bird boxes. 

The church's kid's club has also got involved by teaching the children about conservation and running practical projects like making bird feeders. 

The scheme is not only proving beneficial for the local wildlife; church member Caroline Daniel said the congregation had also bonded as a result of taking part in the scheme. 

"It's brought folk together - people who might not otherwise have much in common," she said.

She added: "I would strongly encourage folk to get involved with Faith Action for Nature."