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Company no. 7500017

Contact Dawn Chorus Educational Initiative Community Interest Company:


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

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
  10. Landscape and natural heritage270121_112696258823718_2007637_n

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.


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. Our popular runic casting bowls are made of hand turned wood, by a community group of mental health service users.

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, by Simply Inspired hand-made clips. Each wildlife & pretty bird themed non-slip clip is individual, just for the little princess in your life. Or you may like our range of bespoke Dawn Chorus jewelry, from our popular designer and supporter at Spectral Creations.



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 out our online shops & look out for our stalls at cultural events.

Promoting bioethics & challenging speciesism

For thirty five years Dawn Chorus Educational Initiative, in partnership with Juno Enterprise Charitable Association 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, parts society have moved on to embrace the vital importance of climate change, biodiversity and veganism, which are now main stream rather than marginal issues. We believe that climate survival and speciesism are crosscutting issues. In these areas we are long established as expert educators and project delivery agents.

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

Our Kosy-Kitchen project was set up to celebrate the millennium (in 2000) and nurture a plant based vegan diet, promote health and compassion. Our resources on Pinterest are well accessed & popular.

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’ 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 is needed 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 widely 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!

We set up a virtual learning community event during lockdown, aimed at anglers, individuals and community wildlife groups, to increase awareness that fish feel pain. We have also stimulated community based discussion to try to help stop shrink-wrapped live packaged lobsters being sold in supermarkets to be bought to boil alive.

Below: children are taught to care about and care for animals and 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.


A Double Gateway to Opportunity


One of our key partners is Juno Enterprise Charitable Association; we work together to synthesize delivery. Both of our organisations have Learning Community Networks that engage, nurtur, motivate, enable, encourage and support learning Each organisation has distinct structure and unique but complementary work elements. The Juno Enterprise Democracy Programme offers participation, learning resources, assemblies, deliberative forums and experience that generate the potential to increase self determination.

The benefits to our communities of this joint work, can include increase in thoughtful, mindful and compassionate attitudes; opportunity; multi level community connection and potential.

All of this assists implementation of strong standards; responsive flexibility; clear, simple achievable and creative concepts; moral, ethical meaningful action; healthy outcomes; positive change, local enjoyment and worth as well as shared global benefit through our Dawn Chorus Educational Initiative International Cooperation Programme.





Above: mental health service users enjoying pond dipping in a Dawn Chorus facilitated event. Our biodiversity activities include a strong commitment to “social prescribing”.

Dawn Chorus has good pond management experience & members have offered advice to landowners interested in conservation. This is vital because, in the twentieth century the UK countryside has lost half of its ponds.  Pond Conservation estimate that of the remaining ponds, 80% are in poor state. Agri-pollution has played a huge part in damaging these ponds & the associated wildlife. Pond dipping makes a great community activity, led by a responsible conservationist, and helps us to realise just how important ponds are. Your could consult your Local Biodiversity Action Group website and look at the Habitat Action Plan for ponds in your area.


Above: a Lincolnshire lake. Below: a Nottinghamshire pond.

Dawn Chorus has recorded the historical and cultural heritage value of ponds, and lakes to our local communities in areas such as Dark Lane in Calverton.

We set up a virtual learning community event during lockdown for individuals and wildlife community groups, promoting awareness of the dangers of moving spawn, frogs or plants from a natural pond or between garden ponds. Transmission of pest plants and diseases can follow. It is better to create in your garden or field corner, lush hiding places as frogs don’t actually live in ponds but will visit supportive habitats on your site. DO NOT move frogspawn or tadpoles from pond to pond or site to site, it can transfer & spread a virus around the country that kills frogs. The deadly frog disease is spreading across Britain with 80% of frogs killed in some areas. People taking spawn from ponds to new places are spreading it. Frogs can develop skin ulcers, sores and can bleed and die due to the devastating ranavirus.


Tack Room Talk

We are very concerned with the state of the hooves of many of the donkeys & horses that we see. Donkey hooves need regular attention from a good farrier to prevent them from becoming over grown. Horse hooves can become brittle, flake and split or get sand cracks. Protective boot technology has improved greatly and bare foot husbandry is becoming popular with the emphasis on hooves being kept in a healthy, natural condition by the farrier and groom.

Good equestrians know that the whip should be used as a third leg to reinforce this aid, only ever extending the squeeze applied. If this cannot be achieved, the whip or crop should be abandoned. The use of leg itself, to build energy through contact and utilize it by squeeze or release, is frequently misunderstood. No horse should ever be kicked…this has no part of riding.

Recent research, by a Norwegian University, into dynamic laryngeal collapse, shows that bits can restrict airways in prone horses. Bitless bridles do not appear to be disposed to causing these issues. Bitless bridles are becoming popular with many riders for reasons of compassion. Internationally acclaimed competitive dressage riders, in some categories (where rules allow) are training and riding without bridles but using neck bands. The bitless range of bridles has improved. A wide selection of leather free tack is now available including a wide choice of brightly coloured webbing. The importance of a broad comfortable nose band should always be remembered; a narrow noseband is torture for a horse.

Dawn Chorus Educational Initiative CIC, has produced an information sheet on ragwort, in partnership with Juno Enterprise Charitable Association. On our pinterest site, as part of our volunteer programme, are equine resources.IMGP8014

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 and gain independence for positive change. Gardening offers physical exercise, self awareness and opportunities to explore, control and reflect…all useful 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, networking information to individuals in the community, such as carers, who may feel isolated.

We have been developing mindful movement and mindfulness in nature practice along with resources for health and wellbeing.  Some people may question the value of these practices but we are 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; in tandem with an activity exploring  Fever few plants, inspired by our supporter, Jacqueline Durban

Below: feverfew flowers and feverfew flower essence preparation.



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, Lincolnshire snake beans, tomatoes including orange banana, climbing courgettes & squashes, grow as good companions in our garden. Lettuce, mustard greens, other salad and leaf vegetables grow on well. We are excited each time more heritage seeds germinate, such as the tiny micro shoots of yellow winter radish popping out of the seed or when tiny red threads of newly germinated beetroot just show. Nature observation: the calm observation of detail and difference and the 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 wider bond, developed with nature and wildlife.

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

In the trials garden, we collect heritage seeds to sow & share year on year. Pictured below is cutting leaf celery, in flower to produce seeds and our amazing angelica with ripening seed heads. Angelica seed cab be sown or used in baking biscuits

Below: angelica seed heads and flowering cutting leaf celery.



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.


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.


People often ask us about planting trees. Aided or unaided natural regeneration of local provenance with associated fungi and bacteria’s, suited to climate specifics, is far preferable to planting. But when this is not possible, the rule should be: the right tree(s) in the right place(s).

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.


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 v park woodland) in Ireland and 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?


Above & below: healthy habitats nurture wildlife by providing expanse of shelter, food & places to breed & raise the next generation.



We promote ID of British wildflowers. We encourage people to monitor species whilst taking healthy local walks. We encourage people to monitor British moths & birds in home gardens. We give information to enable our communities to protect & conserve ancient woodland and other habitats. We support partners in America with a community based heritage White Oak project. Our own flora and fauna projects, for example: green alkanet & borage for pollinators, are very popular. Lincolnshire costal wetland, Nottinghamshire dumble and wetland and Leicestershire unimproved grass land species monitoring are features of our springtime work.

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

a) regular annual species recording visits to the Lincolnshire coast, where our volunteers have recorded Red-footed falcon, Spotted redshank, Whinchat, Marsh harrier, Stonechat and Whimbrel.

b) our “Tremendous Trees project” (recording and celebrating ancient trees),  on which we have cooperated since 1985. We have an extensive record of ancient coppice, pollards & stubs across the East midlands.

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)

Dawn Chorus volunteers busily feed 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 also ask people to put out water & cat food (not bread & milk as it can kill them) to help them survive.

Promoting learning and well-being in our community

We have created accessible community opportunities for people to improve skills, build awareness & gain independence for positive change. Anti bullying, challenging racism and building resilience continue as strong themes in our work. We have hugely expanded our learning resources on wide ranging topics from crotchet to pollinators.

Our outdoor activities offer physical exercise and self awareness; they explore control and reflection and are of particular use for mental health service users and participants suffering from stress and low self esteem. We have held discussions with members of our community with Alzheimer’s or caring for those with the condition & local orchard owners, to open up orchards to benefit this group of people. Our environmental projects empower people in a stimulating natural environment and build community cohesion. We use “nature nurture” wellbeing tools to develop holistic learning skills. Natural music, natural art, natural weaving and plant dies can be explored. Nature observation and empathy offers transformational learning and insight into re use, creative application, craft skills and practical solutions planning and executive function skills.

Charlotte said: “I like that mindfulness is part of all the health & wellbeing activities. The ”flower breathing” exercise is very good: slowly & gently breath in through your nose, as though you smell the beautiful scent of a flower & breath out through your mouth as though you blow a leaf. i also like the “circle breathing” exercise when we, use a poem, prayer or positive affirmation &  reciting one line breathing in & one line breathing out, being especially aware of each breath. I find it gives deep connection, awareness & relaxation. We are encouraged to use the “magic of like comparison” to give emphasis: we breath in visualizing a mountain, breath out saying I am steadfast; breath in visualizing two caring hands reaching towards each other, breath out saying I feel the warmth of your hand; breath in visualizing the stars, exhale exclaiming liberty! Isn’t that fun.” (June 2022)

Our learning communities and activities provide a safe space for people ranging from those who are lonely and isolated or older, vulnerable, experiencing mental health challenges, those leaving service in the forces to families in receipt of Pupil Premium. We encourage self compassion during participation and mindful practice in breathing, movement, observation and communication. We believe that self compassion is a more positive motivator than self criticism because it replaces fear with love. When people are gentle with themselves, they are in a good position to reach out & empathize with others & with nature. We encourage fun times, quiet times and thoughtfulness. We continue to build strong networks for people to connect and share skills, needs, support, potential and opportunity.



Sketching wildflowers & flora ID, encourages calm observation of detail and difference. Fauna ID encourages compassion and empathy for the natural world. Participants develop basic skills, use simple tool and develop pride in and understanding of their own achievements; they can develop spatial awareness, motor skills and understanding of the value of landscapes. Children are included and encouraged to use all of the senses to make natural observations, experiment with natural materials and explore habitats. Earth stories and natural measuring, understanding horizons and perspective are popular activities. We received positive feedback on our partnership work from Woodborough preschool committee.

We continue to work on a range of key adoption initiatives; supporting charities and 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. We have cooperated with a small group to lobby Central Government to expand the number of adopted children covered by the Virtual schools and virtual heads to make the service more diverse and inclusive. We have extended our resource on attachment parenting and PACE parenting (playfulness, acceptance, curiosity and empathy) creating information tools that encourage positive family relationships. We are promoting awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Our cultural learning interventions can have a positive social impact and increase attainment and self esteem in hard to reach learners.

A PowerPoint has been produced, as a teaching tool, on belief-systems and equality.

We were given the nice forest craft snowman (below) as a “thank you” for helping with a winter woodland celebration at Little Adventurers Forest School. Activities included burning a camp fire yule wishing log and making evergreen woodland garlands.




Our Kozy-Kitchen healthy eating project project is still in demand after 20 years. We have expanded our resources on sugar free diet & recipes; plant based dietary magnesium; B12, vegan life and orchard fruits. Our “Natures plant larder” project remains in popular demand. It covers basic skills and specific skills, such as identification, food preparation, cooking, reading recipes accurately, measuring ingredients, understanding healthy eating and wellbeing, memory and maintaining and celebrating cultural heritage. Children & families love our “bring it home” projects.


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, mental health iniatives & other community organisations and supporters.

Our wellbeing work has been showcased widely.  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. 

we help with shelter building and story-telling activities for preschool children, including: brewing up hot chocolate, hammering with wooden mallets, tying ropes, telling stories, practicing communication & teamwork skills & getting lots of fresh air. We have provided all weather clothing to preschool groups and outdoor equipment.

In our outdoor activities, we often make time to watching the clouds. Watching slow drifting or fast scudding clouds, we can release anxieties, let them be taken by the clouds as we stay grounded here in a liberated reality. The clouds evolve, shapes and colors change as we watch as our worries can disperse our feelings change, responsive to conditions. Nature is not stagnant; it is a living whole. Water in all its forms, clouds & ice are fluid & have often been linked to changing human emotions. Water cleanses our body & quenches our thirst, it can calm our emotions. Come from a hot field to the bank of a woodland stream on a summer’s day and our emotions respond to the change. We try to be aware of the interconnectedness of ourselves with our living, changing natural world & seek in it (mentally or physically) what we find calming, joyful & beneficial.