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David Shepherd’s Foundation Holds Its First ‘Eco Forum’ in Shalford

Published on: 3 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 6 Mar, 2022

Standing room only for some who wished to hear the talks given at the first ‘Eco Forum’ in Shalford.

By Cecilia Taylor

Shalford is taking the threat of climate change seriously if the attendance at a meeting co-hosted by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) is anything to judge by.

The Foundation’s first “Eco Forum” event was held in the Shalford church of St Mary’s on Thursday, February 24. A high attendance meant some had to stand.

The bleakest climate change alerts yet have been issued from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warning of more droughts, flooding, rising sea levels and extreme weather, all due to human actions.

The stated aim of the meeting was to bring together diverse voices, local groups and eco experts, to show what’s happening locally and globally to help save our planet.

And there was time for attendees to talk too.

The evening comprised of a series of short, “Ted-style” talks. Bishop Jo Bailey Wells set the scene followed by inspiring young voices from local schools’ Eco Committees.

Shalford Infant and Nursery School and Tillingbourne Junior School were actively working on impressive projects such as less waste, litter picking, saving water, and encouraging vegetarian meals. Tillingbourne School is seeking permission from the council to install solar panels on their school roof.

The 1st Shalford Guides spoke passionately about their concerns. They have created an environmentally-friendly duck food for the village pond (for sale in the Post Office) and made frog houses. They also planted wildflowers in the St Mary’s wild churchyard project, built bat boxes and are keen to protect hedgerows.

Tom Hicks, Polar Explorer, talked of his forthcoming trip to the geographical North Pole, meaning he would literally be “on top of the world”. While there he will gather data on
the declining levels of ice and snow.

He is also supporting the Snow Leopard Conservation project with The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. Georgina Lamb, the granddaughter of the late much-admired wildlife artist David Shepherd and CEO of the DSWF, told us of the catastrophic loss of wildlife. She said that since 1970 there has been a 68 per cent reduction in wildlife and a million species threatened with extinction adding that the Shalford based charity is making huge global conservation efforts to help save endangered species.

Other speakers included Rosamund Community Garden Project, John Tarbet from Economics, Zero Carbon Guildford, Colin Summerhayes from Guildford Environmental Forum (GEF), Shalford Parish Council, GBC and SCC councillors presented their work on local sustainability projects such as cycle paths and tree planting.

Two speakers were keen on the reduction of car speed limits to 20mph in Surrey to reduce air pollution. This idea was proposed in January 2022 to SCC, by the Guildford Lib Dems but rejected.

In recognition of their efforts, St Mary’s Church efforts have earned them a Bronze Eco Church Award this year. The Rev’d Sarah Lloyd said: “Huge thanks to DSWF for co-hosting with us, and to all our inspiring speakers for our first Shalford Eco Forum – particularly highlighting the vital global and local focus in all we do together for our planet.

“The evening proved a wonderful occasion for people to make new eco contacts and partnerships going forward which is fantastic. We’re planning next year already – Shalford Eco Forum looks set to be an important annual event.”

You can view a recording of the meeting here:

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