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Social Enterprise Africa

Young People on the Butterflies Programme, Uganda

E4C is proud to support Social Enterprise Africa (SEA), a Community Interest Company (CIC) based in Birmingham, UK, and headed up by Ben Parkinson.

SEA works with children and young people in Uganda who are selected to take part in the Butterfly Programme and for the children there is the Chrysalis School.  All the young people taking part in the Butterfly Programme are highly resourceful, and all have their own individual stories to tell about their lives, their hopes and dreams, and what they plan to do to make their country a better place to live.  But more than this, the young changemakers would like to eliminate poverty in Uganda within ten years.

Such ambitious aims require ambitious plans and actions, and the Butterflies have already started to rise to the challenge.  We have been hugely impressed by the work the Butterflies have done so far, with each of the young people creating and championing a wide variety of projects from growing melon crops to organising sports activities through Project Circulate.  Other projects include activities working on women’s issues, a biogas project, and developing international arts programmes.

SEA relies on funding and other support to run the Chrysalis School, and to support all the young people on the programme, so please visit their website to see how you can help http://www.socialenterpriseafrica.org/

The young peoples’ blogs also make inspiring and fascinating reading, so please do take some time to explore the blogs further, and see for yourself the resourcefulness of the Butterflies.

December 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm Leave a comment

Soundwalk Warwickshire – an appeal for help

We have made it through the first round of the Nat West Community Force funding application.  We have now been invited to post photographs and videos and have to put some effort into encouraging people to vote for our project.

As well as posting photographs and videos another idea would be to create a dynamic and media-rich presentation that would tell the world all about Soundwalk Warwickshire and what we are trying to achieve.

To achieve this we need some volunteers to help us put this together .  I have put the basic framework of the presentation together, but now need to add in graphics, additional photos, video footage and a soundtrack.

If you would like to get involved and help us get this programme off the ground please get in touch.

About Soundwalk Warwickshire

Soundwalk Warwickshire is part of our larger Wild Echoes workshop programme which focuses on acoustic ecology.  Our aim is to explore the natural world and our cultural heritage through sound and acoustics.  We will offer a wide range of activities from the very simple to the highly complex.

At a very basic level a soundwalk could simply be a walk in the park, woodland, farmland, an urban environment.  The only criteria are that the soundwalker(s) become attuned to their aural landscape and take some time to reflect on their experiences.

At a more complex level we will be recording natural and displaced natural sounds and using art and technology to create soundscape pieces.  We will also explore what sound, noise, silence and acoustics means to different cultures across different timelines.  For example, exploring historical soundscapes and comparing them with modern soundscapes.

If you want to be a part of this exciting journey, then please get in touch.

August 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm Leave a comment

Shhhh…Hear That? It's World Listening Day. (via Thinking Out Loud)

This is a great blog that looks at a few simple ways to celebrate World Listening Day. E4C is about to launch its first series of soundwalks in Warwickshire so watch this space.

Shhhh...Hear That? It's World Listening Day. unplug iPod music stops abruptly cricket song instead ~Dr SunWolf July 18 is World Listening Day, I just learned.  One of the principle purposes of World Listening Day is “to celebrate the practice of listening as it relates to the world around us, environmental awareness, and acoustic ecology . “ What a phenomenal idea!  Just to celebrate the practice of listening is reason enough to note the day. It should be an international holiday! As I writ … Read More

via Thinking Out Loud

July 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm Leave a comment

Learning from nature

Working with large, charismatic animals is surely one of the most rewarding things you can do, and I’ve long known that we have so much to learn from them.  Indeed humans have been learning from other species for millenia.  It is so sad, then, that we continue to persecute the Earth’s large mammals to such an extent that population numbers are now drastically reduced to dangerously low levels.

The proud beasts of the forests and plains survive in pockets of wild habitat that are also shrinking as a result of human encroachment.

The link to the article below in today’s Independent touches on the importance of trophic cascade (the importance of apex predators in the web of life), and also the parallels that can be drawn between our species and others.  For example, the importance of family groups and social structures.

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/could-big-cats-be-facing-extinction-2308722.html

Big cats are on the brink.  This article is a plea for us to take heed and to really learn the lessons, not just for the sake of the big cats, but for our own as well.  The world will be much diminished if these wonderful creatures disappear from the landscape once and for all.  With fewer than 900 tigers left in India time is running out….

July 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

The magical power of art inspired by nature

The past few months have not been easy.  Losing my father, after he suffered a long battle against cancer, has been a difficult and emotional time that has tinted my  life with sadness in the past year.   Trying to move E4C forward is also a constant battle, with funding in short supply to get projects off the ground, and rejection for innovative programmes becoming increasingly frustrating. On the business front, it’s a much tougher market place out there for service-based companies, making it harder and at times exhausting just to keep pace.  And to cap it all, whilst the recent crop of Bank Holidays has given me a well earned rest, it has meant that much of April has been written off as being unproductive. 

The culmination of all this left me feeling pretty down in the dumps until I started going through my Twitter feed this morning.  I’d even read on one of the postings that  “Twitter can make you happier”.  One of the ways it does this is by providing  a distraction which takes you away from your negative thoughts!  Well, it certainly did that, and my mood has been lifted tremendously by links to two blogs that have reminded me of the wonderful and magical power of art and nature. 

Art Discovery in Wales

The first Twitter discovery was an article and slideshow about a series of wall paintings that have been found in old toilet block due for demolition on a remote Welsh island off the Pembrokeshire coast.  Twitchers and other visitors there have documented sightings of rare birds by painting them on the walls.  Started in the 1960s, this practice continued for many years and there are now over 100 paintings.  Is this the modern equivalent of cave paintings?  Since the dawning of human consciousness, we have always felt the need to depict the world around us through art, and this is a wonderful example of this.  But what also lifted my spirits with this blog posting, is the story itself.  In an increasingly fast-paced world, and in a remote corner of the British Isles, a group of people have been quietly documenting the wild bird species in the most unlikeliest of places. 

To see the slideshow, follow the link:  http://www.walesonline.co.uk/showbiz-and-lifestyle/arts-in-wales/2011/05/04/stunning-wildlife-paintings-discovered-in-wales-91466-28635241/

The second posting I found on Twitter was a tweet that simply said:   “Sand Dancer – Enjoy!”  I was curious enough by this tweet to follow the link, and I’m so glad I did.  The Sand Dancer in question is artist, Peter Donnelly, who creates amazing “paintings” in the sand using a stick and a rake.  These are done on a large scale, and, by all accounts, he does not use plotting tools or visual perspective.  

When you are feeling down, seeing the passion with which someone else lives their life, in all its simplicity and self-belief, somehow inspires you with the motivation to face the day with a smile in your heart.

(Thank you to Eco Preservation Society for the original post)

I hope these two postings have the same effect on you, and bring a smile to your face too, and perhaps a little reflection on the wonders of nature, and the inspiration she gives us to use her as our muse.

May 5, 2011 at 7:50 am Leave a comment

Bialowieza – Europe’s last primeval forest

Bialowieza - the last primeval forest

Bialowieza forest in Poland is an untouched wilderness that is home to myriad species including wolves and bison, both charismatic species that now only co-exist in the wild in a handful of places in the world. 

A battle is currently being waged over this ancient forest, which began life 8,000 years ago.  On one side are those who believe nature has to be managed and controlled, and on the other those who think we should leave well alone and let nature do her own thing.  

The Bialowieza national park is just one fragment of the vast forest, and only 10 sq km is fully protected.  The battle is over the forest that lies outside the national park. 

Read the full article published in the Guardian on 6 April 2011: 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/06/poland-environmentalists-foresters-primeval-forest

April 13, 2011 at 6:17 pm Leave a comment

5 Web Resources for Environmental Educators

Environmental education resources on the Net

Many schools in the UK now have Smartboard technology in the classrooms, which has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for the learning experience.

Making use of this technology for environmental education thus seems like a logical step, but unfortunately the myriad websites offering “environmental” information and resources can prove time-consuming and often confusing for teachers and educators who are already pressed for time.

Below are links to five websites that provide some great resources for environmental education and nature-based topics, and for other curriculum subjects too (not forgetting that environmental education is, of course, cross-curricular).

British Natural History Consortium
The BNHC is a charity that has the support of some heavyweight organisations.  The site has a range of downloadable resources for teachers, as well as access to some great events.  You can also follow the links through the supporters’ sites, which also have a wealth of materials and resources.
www.bnhc.org.uk

Caro & Co
Although Australian-based, this website is wonderfully refreshing, and fosters a sense of awe and wonders for the natural world in all its activities.  The whole ethos is to encourage children outdoors to explore nature in all her glory and to marvel at even the most seemingly insignificant of things and imbue them with a sense of the magical.
www.salisburydowns.wordpress.com

Arkive
This website has the most amazing collection of photographs and videos.  Ideal if you need to identify a particular species and learn about its habitat.
www.arkive.org

Wild About Britain
A good repository of information about wildlife and environmental organisations throughout the UK.  If you’re a classroom teacher, this would make a great starting place for inviting speakers and experts into your class to talk about their work.   And like Arkive, there is a comprehensive library of Britain’s wildlife.  You’ll be amazed at how much wildlife this tiny island actually does have.
www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk

Project Wild
This American website takes a conceptual approach to nature and environmental education, and provides lots of information and activities for teachers.  Although aimed at the American Key Stage 12 age group, the materials and activities can be adapted to use with younger learners.
www.projectwild.org

We are continuing to develop the content for EnvELOP, our Environmental Education & Learning Online Platform.  This will provide a comprehensive range of resources in one place.  EnvELOP will take advantage of all the technologies available, both traditional and new, to enhance the experience of learning, and make it fun, dynamic and interactive.

Get Involved
If you would like to get involved with EnvELOP, please contact us.  We are looking for writers, graphic designers, artists, games developers, researchers, web-masters.   Email Denise Taylor at denise.taylor@btinternet.com.

February 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm Leave a comment

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