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Company no. 7500017

Contact Dawn Chorus Educational Initiative Community Interest Company:

http://www.htt:/dawnchoruseducationalinitiative.org.uk

info@dawnchoruseducationalinitiative.org.uk

Phone: 07758847089. Follow us: on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest

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OUR NEWS.

At Dawn Chorus Educational Initiative, our committed volunteers give their time to support others in the community. Our volunteers have really made a difference, working on creative and life skills projects. They often take urgent positive action for animals or the environment or continue to expand our community educational resources. We have recently welcomed a new director,  nominated from the local community.

Our community engagement for all ages in just one week helped childrens groups to: celebrate heritage festivals, take part in garden bird watching, countryside ID & pond adventures. We continue to support partners in America with a community based heritage White Oak project and in the early summer our project on green alkanet & borage for polinators, proved popular. We have been in demand in the community, to support cross-curricular immersive learning: developing compassion, cultural experience, creativity, academic potential, social skills & outdoor learning possibilities. We have developed resources to support elective home education groups.

Our volunteers have been working on our lace heritage project is part of our educational design history programme. It encompasses historical research, identifying local and regional uniqueness, raising awareness and appreciation of traditional local framework knitting, hosiery & lace buildings, that are being rapidly destroyed, supplying traditional local style craft tools and encouraging creative traditional skills, nurturing enterprising attitudes and stimulating cultural and economic benefits. The picture below shows our Dawn Chorus bird, featured one of our lace bobins. Watch out for items for sale in our online shop.

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We have distributed information on residential wood heater standards. We work with communities offering information resources on PACE parenting and attachment parenting and supporting peer groups for families with adopted children within the domestic and international adoption communities. We are working in partnership to develop a training unit on trans racial adoption. Our powerpoint on belief-systems and equality has proved popular. Anti bullying, anti racism and building resillience continue as strong themes. We are promoting awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. We have lobbied at parliamentary level on the virtual heads service and adoption issues. The cherry blossom and apple blossom features, part of our heritage orchards project, have proved very popular. Volunteers have been very busy planting heritage seeds for the Dawn Chorus heritage trials garden. This year we are trialing “cutting celery” for the first time. Our annual work on isophones continues; this topic is cross cutting and covers climate change, natural heritage and biodiversity. Lincolnshire costal wetland, Nottinghamshire dumble and wetland and Leicestershire unimproved grass land species monitoring have been a feature of our springtime work. Our learning activity outings have looked at medieval stonework in Tickhill South Yorkshire and architectural furniture in Grantham.

Our volunteers photographed this fine old crabapple tree on one of our guided walks in March. Volunteers pointed out the rows of hairs on the edges of the bud scales that assist winter identification. Unusually this tree was one in a loose row; they usually grow singly in hedgerows. Black birds were seen under the trees eating the fallen fruit and the caterpillar of an eyed hawk moth was spotted in a crevice.

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We were delighted to supply copy writing & images to Juno Enterprise Charitable Association for community education resource sheets, this work will benefit over 10,000 people. In addition we printed for the Association community education resources, including foraging bags to benefit several hundred people in 2017. pictured below, Juno Enterprise Charitable Association partnership project with SEND Nottingham.

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We helped with shelter building and story telling activities for preschool children, brewing up hot chocolate, hammering with wooden mallets, tying ropes, telling stories, practicing communication & teamwork skills & getting lots of fresh air.

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We helped our partner Juno Enterprise, to celebrate thirty years of delivering outstanding community benefits. We work together on a range of significant projects. Two examples being:

a) species recording: on a visit to the Lincolnshire coast, our volunteers recorded Red-footed falcon, Spotted redshank, Whinchat, Marsh harrier, Stonechat and Whimbrel.

b) our “Tremendous Trees project”: on which we have cooperated since 1985.

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Our volunteers have been helping children to check insect hotels, we are comparing designs to find out the preference of species for various designs. (Below: insect hotel on a sycamore tree)

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Volunteering publicity continues to be sent out. A story about the work of our wildlife welfare & rescue volunteers was very well received by the public, highlighting the appreciation for and realization of the importance of this work. Our volunteers do an inspiring job, with great passion, contributing to all aspects of our work. We celebrate the vital work of our volunteers during Volunteers Week and the value & impact that it has on people’s lives and our communities. Glossy ibis, lesser spotted woodpecker & little owl, spotted in same field at same time by Dawn Chorus volunteers, well done volunteers of all ages. Pair of dippers, pair of barn owls, pair of ravens and a little egret spotted on one of our guided family walks. Dawn Chorus was delighted to contribute to a Spring study on bluebells by the Radical Honey project, for community creativity, delivered by our supporter Jacqueline ; see link at the right of this page.

Great things happen in the Dawn Chorus organic trials garden, including growing  heritage vegetables from seed. These are delivered to preschool children’s educational gardens & other community organisations and supporters. Dawn Chorus volunteers are busily feeding underweight, hungry little hedgehogs.  Dawn Chorus hedgehog hibernation quarters built by our volunteers have all had hedgehogs in residence. The design of the nests has been distributed national. We have campaigned to raise awareness of seasonal risks to hedgehogs, encouraging the public to check before lighting bonfires to prevent sleeping hedgehogs from being burned alive. We advise that people move  and re-site piles before lighting or push broom handles into the base of the wood heap to lift it & shine a torch in and look & listen. We are also asking people to put out water & cat food (not bread & milk as it can kill them) to help them survive. As our communities see the vital importance of our work, we continue to see a steady rise in the number of people supporting us. If you want to support our work, please check below to see our new delivery of very special bespoke Dawn Chorus catalog items by Simply Inspired hand-made clips. Each wildlife & pretty bird themed non-slip clip is individual, just for the little princess in your life. We have extended our range of bespoke Dawn Chorus jewelry,  with three new items becoming available from our popular designer and supporters at Spectral Creations. Dawn Chorus was a very close runner-up in a regional public vote for best community environmental group. We were nominated by Crown Estates. Only a very few votes decided the winning outcome. We enjoyed the activity and gained a huge amount of positive feedback. Laura Norton from Crown Estates said: “Everyone was really impressed with all the fantastic work that you do so a big well done. “ We wish to thank every one who voted for us and all of our supporters, we value every one of you. Below: a colourful inflatable beetle from the recent sustainability event.

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We hope that you like this picture of Black Rocks, Derbyshire. It was taken at a Dawn Chorus & Juno Enterprise partnership activity to support access to social, industrial and natural heritage. Our volunteer who took this photo said: “today helped me to understanding that places have special meaning”.

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Following the great success of Volunteers Week, we have joined up with many friends & look forward to cooperating with them throughout the year. We directly delivered messages to 169,404  individuals during volunteers week, on the vital work that our volunteers carry out, in the current economic climate. Further updates on our work have sent out to every county and city third sector infrastructure organisation in the East Midlands. “Communications” continue to be a theme at Dawn Chorus. We are working with target online communities, on natural and cultural heritage, human and animal well-being, community education and third sector issues. We look forward to reporting positive news from this exciting project. Dawn Chorus campaign information has been networked to 71,197 individuals, through face to face contact at conferences & with individuals & via social networking. Our consultations with stakeholders have received positive feedback from 420 individuals on specific issues & feedback from over 910 individuals on general issues. Dawn Chorus has 2,024 supporters and 659 partners of which 336 are working partners and 323 are in our active co-operative network, some have been with us since 1985.

Showcased: We were delighted that One East Midlands chose Dawn Chorus as the subject for a Case Study and target for promotion. The Case Study can be viewed on the One East Midlands website. Bricks and Bread, the sustainable hub project based in London, has chosen Dawn Chorus as “hub member of the day”  “in recognition of (our) hard work and support”, we feature on the “bread line” website.  Please follow the links to support our partners. Two issues of concern to Dawn Chorus that grabbed the headlines: the positive news that the badger cull was partially postponed in some areas, thanks to the huge campaign on behalf of the badgers (we have been proud to have played a modest part in this achievement) and secondly the terrible news that the bio-security threat to our Ash trees is becoming more evident. This will have grave consequences for the East Midlands where Ash trees are so characteristic, especially in the “Mercian mud-woods” and the Dumble areas. Dawn Chorus is engaged within a number of forums and partnerships that are considering the best action to take to assist in the situation. How now do we “maintain & improve by management, existing mixed ash dominated woodland”? (Notts. BAP) What a difference volunteers can make! For example, Dawn Chorus volunteers have released birds that have recovered from treatment and rehabilitation, including garden birds that have been attacked by cats; our volunteer Andrew said: “it is great to see them flying high above the trees, healthy and free”. So a big thank you to our volunteers for helping to make this year a huge success! Our supporter & volunteer wildlife photographer Ellie sent us the picture below of a cute little fox; Ellie said: “Nothing like a bit of urban wildlife”.

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Sales Items

Buy our educational resources or choose a beautiful gift from our catalog.

Or check out our Dawn Chorus etsy and ebay shops. Every item sold supports our vital charitable work. Help us to create educational opportunities in communities, improve wellbeing, create positive changes to the environment and to promote and deliver animal welfare.

We sell bespoke Dawn Chorus craft items including hand-made tools for craft workers, made from sustainable wood in Sherwood Forest; irresistible gifts; baby-shower and bridesmaid tokens and embroidered simples with Nottingham lace detail.

In addition, we provide community educational services, resources and publications, native and heritage plants, antiques and ceramics by arrangement.

Below: hand made bird and wildlife themed children’s hair grips.

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Support Us

What We Do:
“Communities learning, caring for all life and celebrating shared heritage”

Since 1985 we have championed creative social and environmental innovation, to deliver community education for you, via our programmes:

  1. Community learning
  2. Social enterprise
  3. Programme management with infrastructure support
  4. Well-being programmes
  5. Volunteering
  6. Sustainability, climate change and eco-philosophy initiatives
  7. International co-operation in our communities
  8. Wildlife and animal welfare
  9. Arts and cultural heritage
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Dawn Chorus Educational Initiative is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, endeavouring to work to specified ethical guidelines.

Your Community:
Our stakeholders are our local communities. Our areas of benefit are Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Rutland, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire, S. Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. We also foster international co-operation in our communities, sharing best practice and rolling out resources to some of the poorest communities in the world.

Co-operation and Collaboration:
We build and lead partnerships, seeking funding to deliver and manage programmes with integral volunteer and infrastructure support. Partnerships are the key to our work. Be involved in delivering excellent benefits with us.
Links to the websites of our key partners are displayed in the Blogroll on the right, please click on the links.

Help us to:

• Facilitate learning
• Foster opportunities for increased welfare, well-being, quality of life, happiness and enjoyment
• Foster equity, equality and ethical communities
• Contribute to social, environmental and economic welfare and benefits for our society
• Enable access to cultural heritage and natural heritage experience
• Increase an understanding that human, animal and environmental well-being are integrated and can be promoted by responsible, compassionate and sustainable lifestyles

Support us:

Sponsor: a resource or event, large or small and receive a free environmental check list
Volunteer: to raise funds. Can you sew, take wildlife photographs or organise a bake sale? Tell us your ideas
Buy our Services or Goods: ask us how we can deliver learning programmes for your users, staff or at an event or visit our sales pages.

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Growing Well

Our Dawn Chorus heritage organic trials garden reaches out to spearheads community initiatives from our small patch. We have created accessible community opportunities for people to improve skills, build awareness & gain independence for positive change. Gardening offers physical exercise and self awareness; offering opportunities to explore control and reflection that is of particular use for mental health service users and participants suffering from stress and low self esteem. Our work always challenges racism and bullying and builds self reliance and networks information to individuals in the community who may feel isolated, such as carers.

We have been developing mindful movement and mindfulness in nature practice & resources for health and wellbeing.  Some people may question the value of these practices but we are reminded reminded that Albert Einstein would have seen this as physics: he referred to everything being energy and said if the frequency of the reality that you want is matched -you get the reality that you want. This made a  great discussion topic and we have been exploring ideas with Fever few plants, inspired by our supporter, Jacqueline Durban http://radicalhoneybee.blogspot.co.uk

Below: feverfew flowers and feverfew flower essence preparation.

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Our environmental projects empower people in a stimulating natural environment and build community cohesion.  We have been looking at the work of India’s “Seed Mother”, Rahibais. This amazing woman saved eighty varieties of native seeds and linked failing health to hybrid seeds. One of our supporters, Linda, said: “All small growers could learn from this”. Giant Greek butterbeans and tomatoes are growing as good companions in the garden. Lettuce and mustard salad greens are starting to grow on well and we are excited that yet more heritage seeds are still germinating including yellow winter radish and pretty, tiny red threads of newly germinated beetroot are just showing as the micro shoots pop out of the seeds. Nature observation, calm observation of detail and difference and development of empathy offers transformational understanding.  This is just one of our “nature nurture” wellbeing tools, used to develop holistic learning skills. Children can, for the rest of their lives, draw upon a developed wider bond with nature and wildlife.

Below, garden magic:  left-pulmonaria known as lungwort was associated with the doctorine of signatures because the leaves were thought to look like lungs. Right- gardens with interest capture the imagination.

At this time of year in the trials garden, we are just starting to collect heritage seeds to sow & share next year: here cutting leaf celery is flowering to produce seeds and amazing angelica has formed its seed heads that are ripening for sowing next year & for use in baking biscuits. Our Kozy-Kitchen healthy eating project project is still in demand after 31 years. It covers basic skills and specific skills, such as identification, food preparation, cooking, reading recipes accurately, measuring ingredients and understanding healthy eating and wellbeing.

Below: angelica seed heads and flowering cutting leaf celery.

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Promoting bioethics & challenging speciesism

For over thirty years Dawn Chorus Educational Initiative, in partnership with Juno Enterprise and other organizations, has delivered community learning activities that have been cutting edge and trail blazing. Biodiversity, animal welfare, climate change, sustainability, wildlife, landscape conservation and habitats, heritage culture and wellbeing all remain key work streams. Since we started our work, society has moved on to embrace vital importance of climate change, biodiversity and veganism, which are no longer marginal, having become main stream issues. We belive that climate survival and speciesism are crosscutting issues. In these areas we are long established as expert educators and project delivery agents.

Below: acess to nature can teach that habitats are vital to wildlife and people.

 

Our Kosy-Kitchen project was set up over twenty years ago to nurture a plant based vegan diet, promote health and compassion.

Below: Children made vegan eater nests to celebrate life and nature and vegan chocolate cherry shortbreads.

 

We initiate animal care and welfare activities. We encourage moral, ethical thinking towards animals, challenge speciesism and explore bioethics. We actively oppose all cruelty. We challenge animal abuse, including vivisection, as we do racism, bullying and exclusion.

Below: caring for animals teaches compassion and understanding.

 

In the wild, chickens spend their days pecking at the ground for food and dustbathing. In factory farming chickens do not have the opportunity to live natural lives. Most people are now aware of the terrible suffering of battery hens. In addition, the males from egg-laying hens (who being male do not produce eggs) are culled, whether the egg farm is free range or battery. The few short hours of a male chick’s life are ended in a gas chamber or they are minced up alive. Chickens reared for meat are called ‘broiler’ chickens. ‘broiler sheds’ that can hold 40,000-50,000 birds. Crowding and machinery noise offers little opportunity to rest. Bred to grow fast, and with just 670cm2 per bird, they can be more crowded than caged egg-laying hens. This unnatural rapid growth, enormously strain their skeletons, often causing leg deformities that can prevent them from reaching food and water. Other health problems are documented and burns to the chickens’ legs are common, from ammonia in the excrement on the shed floor. Antibiotic-laced food to keep them alive. It is said that six per cent of all chickens reared for meat (50 million per year) die in broiler sheds. Most chickens reared for meat are slaughtered at just six weeks old, having lived just a tiny fraction of their natural lifespan of around six years. At Dawn Chorus, we support initiatives that work to rescue chickens and other poultry and improve the lives of these widley abused birds.

Below: left- rescue chickens, well cared for and living natural lives. right- our worm hotel.

In our Dawn Chorus organic heritage trials garden, we love our worm hotel, the worms have an excellent, comfortable, predator free home with as much food as they can eat. In exchange they provide us with rich compost and liquid fertilizer. Earth worms benefit the planet, making our soil healthy and increasing the capacity for rain water to be stored at root level. Pesticides, compaction from heavy machinery, lack of bio-matter and other modern farming practices have led to a steep decline in earth worms. 42% of UK farmland surveyed was deficient in earth worms. It is not just farming; many golf courses eradicate worms with chemicals to prevent spoiling of the greens. Some experts warn that not only does our planet have a crisis in pollinating insects (such as bees) and earthworms (both essential to food production) but that all insects and invertebrates, given current rates of decline, could vanish within 100 years. This would lead a total ecosystems collapse.  We had a huge response to our simple online survey asking people if they pick up worms from paths and move them to a place of safety; it is heartening to know that so many people care about earth worms!

Below: children are taught to care about and care for animalsand other creatures both domestic and wild.

Education, beneficial activity and involvement are vital to fight climate change and biodiversity decline. We support many eco-conscious and animal rights campaigns and create peaceful pathways for members of the community to become involved in creating social and environmental justice and making the positive change that they wish to see in the world.

Wild Heart Lands

Whilst species rich ancient hedges are often discussed with some common agreement, woodland ecology and palaeoecology can be a more controversial topic. New woods take a long time to become species rich. Many people are asking why (other than for fund raising) so much new tree planting is taking place and why natural regeneration is over looked. Natural regeneration of woodland and other habitats can offer robust solutions at a time when biodiversity is challenged.

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Planted trees can introduce disease and often do not thrive for a range of issues including a lack of mycorrhizal fungi in the soil which may create weak stock due to soil structure issues, phosphate and other nutrient deficiencies & even poor water uptake. Introduced tree stock may have no empathy with local conditions, cross pollination integrity, or local climate.

Woodland and peat-lands are excellent carbon sinks. Trees soak up heat and trapping carbon dioxide as they grow, they release it when they burn or rot. Research into large remaining contemporary ecosystems, for example, in rain forest areas or Siberia could help us to understand the mechanics of dynamic vegetation lifecycles, interactions and change. Good land management and re-wilding of nature could be equivalent to stopping global oil burning and could avert 11.3bn tones of carbon dioxide emissions a year, (equivalent to fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions for China) and providing 37% of all cuts needed by 2030 to offset climate change. If added to this veganism became wide spread, possibly the single biggest act that could be delivered to reverse climate change, significant progress could be made.

It has been argued that newly planted woodland will probably have less wildlife value than a single ancient or veteran tree that can be in its self a mini nature reserve. Ancient trees are hollow and beyond maturity, the crown may be consolidated and the girth noticeably larger than neighboring trees. Veteran trees are old trees (pre-ancient or mature) Different species reach maturity at different ages. Environmental and ageing factors cause features such as flaking bark, cavities, fungal decay, running sap, if it is oak it may have a staghead feature, they may be old coppiced stools or man-.made or natural pollards. We have the technology to transplant huge mature trees in order to “save them” from development sites; but should we not instead relocate the development sites.US White Oak specimen trees in urban areas are given deserved attention (as with UK trees that have been awarded tree preservation orders) but these great trees have lost their natural homes, their habitat envelopes.

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Holistic, biodiverse habitats with natural regeneration are vital. The impact of human activity and long-term vegetation change must be properly understood. Large herbivore grazing in woodland and within re-wilding areas has become a recognized though controversial tool to create diverse habitats. When animals used in smaller scale conservation grazing are sold for meat to generate income, a conflict of interest can arise. It is argued that animals can disturb natural balance, destroy invertebrates and produce methane & other waste. Historically (post glacial) Ireland had no large grazing animals. It would be expected that Ireland’s tree cover would have varied from places with grazing animals. However, palaeoecological research including counts and analysis of historical pollen, show no unexpected difference between tree species distribution & density (closed canopy or park woodland) in Ireland & other places that did have grazing animals. Natural regeneration is preferred for creating and expanding new wildlife rich woodland and ancient semi natural woodland. It is cheap and the trees generated are better adapted to local conditions and reflect natural composition. What could be easier than to keep our hand off and allow space for nature?

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