Thank you for answering the call “Our local wildlife needs YOU!” I would also like to thank GreenTEA and the Eynsham Society for hosting this event and the Bartholomew Players for swapping halls this evening!

Welcome to the Launch of Eynsham’s Great Nature Recovery Project from Long Mead Wildlife Site, GreenTEA, Eynsham Society, EPIC, the Morris and the Scouts. We are the local people who are getting this project going. We hope many more Eynsham groups and individuals will join us in driving this project forward.

Welcome also to neighbours from Cassington, Freeland, Cumnor, Stanton Harcourt, Long Hanborough, Church Hanborough, and  anywhere else (voice from crowd: 'Columbia!'). Some of you have offered to help us and some are interested in seeing how we are going about community project. We’ve discussed with some of you the idea of cross parish nature recovery and sharing skills between us….our idea is to see if we can grow the project for the whole of Oxfordshire…

Our intention in this project is to help our community respond to the current Climate Emergency by recovering the natural carbon sinks and extraordinary biodiversity, upon which we depend for life itself. These carbon sinks and biodiversity are all around us - in our village and surrounding countryside.

The idea is to bring together local knowledge and experience from all parts of our community. We believe that every person can contribute something. We all have the power to act. We can use our own gardens and community green spaces. And people in every generation have so much to contribute and to learn from each other and how to work together to best effect.

The project is at the ideas stage and we want to start with ideas we create together. Some of you may already have given us some through the satellite map in the Market Garden. Today, we have set up space for creative conversations on Wildflowers, Wildlife, Trees & Hedgerows, Ponds & Streams, Orchards and Vegetables and Tools for the job.

If we are to work together in ‘collective hand-holding’, as Catriona puts it, we need to be able to communicate with each other. We hope to hear from the conversation tables about the ideas bubbling up and open up a wider conversation for more bright ideas on how we might do things…