Working towards a greener, flourishing future for people, nature and planet

Published December 2021

At Earth Trust we are working towards a society where everyone has access to nature-filled green spaces close to where they live and where the countryside is open for people to enjoy.

 

We seek a world where nature and people thrive in balance and where, as individuals, we all have a deep understanding of our environment, our place in it and our role in caring for it.

 

To create a future like this we need a society in which people learn from each other and collaborate together. Where everyone is deeply connected with nature, and where this connection leads them to take or demand action to protect it for the future. A future where larger green spaces, such as farms, wetlands and forests, are managed regeneratively and are as welcoming to people as possible. Where we live close to green spaces and nature is built into our homes and our lives. Where more habitats, whether farmed, wooded or wetland based, are teeming with wildlife. Where we are conscious of our daily decisions about the natural resources we use – food, water, soil, wood and energy.

Together with our supporters, we’ve been connecting people with green spaces for nearly 40 years, yet this has never been as important as during the pandemic over the past year and a half.

  • Throughout 2021, Earth Trust saw a record number of visits to our green spaces. We lost 80% of our funding during the pandemic, but with the help of our volunteers were able to keep our greenspaces open, providing much-needed space for health and wellbeing.
  • Our environmental engagement and education programmes for children and adults have helped participants develop new thinking, skills and confidence. We’re piloting new subsidised outdoor education sessions for excluded children and those most affected by the pandemic.
  • We delivered online archaeology sessions to 500 global participants, exploring the influence of the past on how we live today and how we need to live in the future.
  • We expanded our volunteer programme to train more community ambassadors to engage directly with visitors and communities.

We’ve influenced policy and are driving change.

We’ve contributed to the climate change and ecological emergency debates to shape thinking on Oxfordshire’s role and drive action at a regional level by demonstrating the value of nature-based solutions.

Working in partnership, collaborating and sharing knowledge and innovation further afield to inspire change for the benefit of the planet and people will be key to solving the challenges ahead. This increasingly includes us sharing with charities, businesses, and local and national government.

  • We’ve provided the vision for living sustainably in the future with our award-winning Earth Lab – a new centre for environmental education which welcomed its first learners last summer. More than a building, Earth Lab is a living demonstration of how humans interact with the natural environment through its design, materials and the way it operates. We’re delighted that Earth Lab is being recognised as a pioneering building, winning a range of awards including “Most Innovative and Sustainable Initiative” at the OxPropFest in September. We’ve been using this platform to start talking to developers about building green space into their housing plans and other developments.
  • The construction phase of our new wetland creation project, River of Life II, was completed in the autumn and is already attracting new species. Otters, herons, kingfishers and crested ducks have recently been spotted. And our population of protected great crested newts now have homes safeguarded for the future. The new wetland will tackle environmental challenges such as water quality, biodiversity, carbon sequestration and flood alleviation. We hope our River of Life II project will inspire more landowners along the Thames and other similar rivers to create their own wetlands.
  • On top of this, we’ve chaired the Oxfordshire Environment Board, supporting the development of the Local Nature Partnership and helped establish a county-wide Environment Advisory Group to tackle climate change, carbon, health and wellbeing and biodiversity loss and ensure that the county’s new developments have natural green spaces close to where people live. And, we are advising on the creation of a new significant accessible green space in the middle of Oxford in partnership with the Environment Agency.

But, we’re not stopping there.

We have exciting plans for the future which we can only deliver together with others.

The difference Earth Trust volunteers, donors and partners are making to the world is so much more than stewarding and protecting the special places we look after and keep open for people to visit.

It’s about making sure that everyone can access green space.

It’s deeply engaging people with nature, whether it’s on our land or elsewhere.

It’s about taking our nearly 40 years of learning out into the world and sharing, educating, engaging and inspiring action in others catalysing climate action for nature.

From children and adults to local communities, residents, landowners, future farmers, businesses and local authorities – sharing our learning about the power of green spaces can help build a movement of people working towards the creation of a thriving planet for future generations.

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